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Windows' screens aren't enough to prevent a fall

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By Eric Stevick
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- Highs in the upper 70s are predicted for the weekend, prompting Snohomish County health and safety experts to remind parents to safeguard children around windows.
Since 2000, there have been 100 reported falls from windows of 15 feet or higher involving children in Snohomish County.
About a quarter of children treated at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center's emergency room are brought there after a fall. Such falls typically happen in spring and summer months when windows are left open.
With warmer weather promised, parents should make sure that the windows in their homes are secure, local experts said.
"A lot of times the window gets opened and the children think that the screen is going to hold them in," Marysville fire marshal Tom Maloney said.
Capt. Matt Johnson of the North County Regional Fire Authority agreed.
"With the screens, we don't want parents to have a false sense of security," he said. "It doesn't take much pressure."
Experts at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and Safe Kids Snohomish County say parents also should consider moving furniture, such as beds and couches, away from windows and balconies.
They also suggest installing a window guard that can be screwed into the side of a window frame.
Snohomish County Fire District 1 paramedic Jeff Sarchin said it's important to find the right hardware to install in the window frames.
"It's pretty important it can be defeated can by an adult in case of a fire," he said.
Talking to children about the dangers of windows is a good place to start "but sometimes the little ones don't understand," he said.
Experts also recommend planting grass or shrubs beneath windows to break falls.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446,
Story tags » Parenting

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