Trauma Season is upon us once again

With the summer weather finally here the issue of young children falling from screened or open windows and sustaining serious and even life-threatening injuries is again of great concern to The Montreal Children's Hospital Trauma Centre. Yesterday evening a two year old little girl fell out of a living room window from a height of 40 feet.
 
Over the past 10 years, our Trauma Centre has treated more than 50 children who have sustained serious and in several cases fatal injuries after falling from a window. At least 50% of the cases occurred in children aged 18 months to four years old, an age when children are curious, exploring their environment, impulsive and not aware of the consequences of their actions. Adult supervision is essential at all times. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the risks. Screens are quite flimsy and are weak barriers giving a false sense of security. Open windows present an opportunity for adventure. To keep children safe: do not place a bed, chair, table or a dresser in front of the window since it is an invitation to climb for this age group which is most at risk.
 
Furthermore to prevent this type of tragic injury, a combination of education, supervision, and environmental modifications are recommended. These recommendations should also be taken into consideration when new houses are constructed and the placement of windows is considered. The use of window guards, stops or partial bars on windows especially in households with young children is strongly recommended. These devices can be purchased at hardware stores or stores that sell kids' safety products.

Children falling from windows can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries. We don't need to see hundreds of cases to do something about it, one case is already one too many !
 
Debbie Friedman BSc. pht. M. Mgmt.
Trauma Director

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University

The Montreal Children's Hospital McGill University Health Centre
2300 Tupper street
, Montreal, Quebec, H3H 1P3 Room c-834
Tel
: (514) 412-4400 ext. 22967
Fax:(514) 412-4254

debbie.friedman@muhc.mcgill.ca
 
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