Each year in the United States, 15 to 20 children under the age of 11 die, and nearly 15,000 are injured, because of falls from windows. Window falls tend to occur in low-income neighborhoods with deteriorating housing, unsatisfactory window construction and no air conditioning.

“Window falls are a major cause of injuries and death in children, especially those living in urban areas,” says Wendy Pomerantz, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children’s.

Children living in apartment buildings fall from windows at five times the rate of children living in other types of homes. The height of the fall, rate of the fall, force of impact and surface on which the child falls influence the severity of injuries. The greater the height of the fall, the higher the death rate.

You can protect your child from window falls by following these tips:

  • Never put a baby’s crib next to a window.
  • Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows. Screens are not designed to prevent falls.
  • Safeguard windows with window guards or window stops. Window guards prevent children from falling out of open windows. Window stops prevent windows from opening more than a few inches.