As parents, we all know the importance of childproofing our homes when we have young children. However, fewer parents are aware of the serious dangers that windows can pose. Far too many children fall out of windows every year, and the consequences of a fall from any height can be catastrophic.
While it’s difficult to determine an exact number of children who fall from windows each year (only those requiring medical care are reported), it’s known that around 5,000 children are seen in the ER every year for injuries sustained by falling out of a window.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, of the 5,000 children seen in emergency rooms every year, 1 in 4 are severe enough to require hospital admission. Tragically, an average of 18 children die every year as a result of a window fall.
Unsurprisingly, children under the age of 5 are the most likely to fall from a window due to their mobility, curiosity, and inability to recognize danger. This group of children is also at the highest risk of sustaining a head injury if they fall, which doubles their risk of dying compared to older children.
Children are at risk for a window fall if they push on a screen with their hands or face, sit on a window ledge, or climb furniture near a window. Window falls become even more likely when there is a faulty or broken window latch or an improperly installed or defective window or childproofing device.
We are often under the mistaken assumption that if an open window has a screen, then it’s safe. However, screens are designed to keep bugs out of the home but do nothing to keep children safe. Even a small child can easily break through a typical window screen with minimal effort.
Many parents assume that only a fall from a second-story (or higher) window can be dangerous, but even a fall from a first-floor window can easily result in serious injury.
Yes! The easiest ways to prevent a window fall are to keep windows closed and locked at all times, make sure that climbable furniture is not placed near windows, and open your windows from the top rather than the bottom. If that’s not a possibility with your style of window, then there are other childproofing options available to you.
Window guards are usually sold in the form of bars that can be attached to the lower half of a window and will allow the window to open without permitting a child to fall out. Window fall prevention screens are another option and are made of heavy-duty mesh that’s firmly attached to a window, making it able to withstand the pressure of a child pushing or falling into it (this is not the same as a typical window screen). Other devices are available that can prevent a window from opening more than 4 inches.
Because a fall from a window can have many different causes, the issue of liability can be challenging to determine. For example, a faulty latch could mean that the window manufacturer is liable, and a poorly installed window could mean that the window installer is liable. Likewise, a defective window guard, or one with insufficient installation instructions, would place liability upon the window guard manufacturer, and all of the above could also mean that a landlord or maintenance company could potentially be held liable in a premises liability lawsuit.
If your child has been seriously injured by falling from a window, contact an experienced legal team as soon as possible to help determine what your options are. If another party is partially or fully liable for your child’s injury, then you may be entitled to compensation.
Ross Feller Casey, one of the nation’s leading personal injury law firms, has won record-setting settlements and verdicts involving all types of product liability cases, including those involving children falling out of a window.
Contact the lawyers at Ross Feller Casey today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Ross Feller Casey handles all its cases on a contingency basis, meaning there will be no cost to you until a financial recovery is made.
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