BCEHS reminds parents of window safety

Emergency officials release these tips to make windows safe through the summer

  • May. 23, 2017 11:10 a.m.

An open window can keep your home cool on a hot day, but it can also put your family at risk.

Nearly 150 children, most aged one to six, were treated at trauma centres around B.C. after falling from a window or balcony between 2009 and 2015, according to BC Trauma Registry data.

Last June, a four-year-old boy died after falling from a third-floor window of a Langley home.

“From broken bones to severe bleeding in the brain, these types of falls can be life-altering for everyone involved,” said Dr. Ash Singhal, a pediatric neurosurgeon and the medical director of the BC Children’s Hospital trauma program, in a release. “I’ve seen it first-hand and have operated on numerous children with brain injuries from window and balcony falls. Parents always say the same thing: I wish I had known; I wish I could go back and prevent it.”

Led by their natural curiosity, children can open unlocked windows and toddlers, with high centres of gravity, can fall head-first through a window screen if they lean on it.

“It is heart-breaking that window falls involving toddlers and young children happen too often every spring and summer,” said Marilyn Oberg, a paramedic with BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), in the release. “Fortunately for parents and caregivers, falls from windows or balconies are easily preventable by following our safety tips that help keep children out of harm’s way during the hot weather season.

BCEHS has released a list of safety tips for parents and others with children in their homes, in partnership with BC Children’s Hospital and the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC.

Tips to prevent falls from windows and balconies:

◗ Don’t underestimate a child’s mobility; children begin climbing before they can walk.

◗ Move furniture and household items away from windows to discourage children from climbing to peer out.

◗ Be particularly mindful of toddlers, who may climb on anything to get higher.

◗ Remember that window screens will not prevent children from falling through. They keep bugs out – not children in.

◗ Install window guards on windows above the ground level. These act as a gate in front of the window.

◗ Alternatively, fasten your windows so that they cannot open more than 10 centimetres (four inches).

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Anja Dumas

The Kelowna Capital News puts the spotlight on community leaders with annual awards

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Blowing snow, slippery sections on Okanagan Connector

Compact snow, poor visibility on Highway 97 from Pennask Summitt to Brenda Mines.

IH adds immunization clinic Sunday in Kelowna

Drop-in meningococcal vaccination clinic on today at Community Health & Services Centre

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

UBCO prof tests software to help cancer patients

Program may help those reluctant to engage ‘tough conversations’ in advance care planning

Broken de-icer delays flights at Kelowna airport

Passengers were on board for three hours Sunday waiting for departure to Vancouver

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Well-known Canadian bird making a comeback

Once on the brink of extinction, the peregrine falcon no longer considered at risk in Canada.

Suzuki: Shine a light during dark times

People need to remain positive despite difficult and unpredictable political climate

Most Read