MARYSVILLE — Spring has only just arrived, but for the second time in less than three weeks, a child has been hurt after falling from a window.
A 3-year-old boy who fell from a second-story window on Tuesday morning was rushed to an Everett hospital with serious head injuries, Marysville Fire District spokeswoman Kristen Thorstenson said. Medics were called to the 6300 block of 73rd Place NE shortly before noon. The boy’s condition wasn’t immediately available.
A girl, about the same age, was luckier when she fell from a window earlier this month. She landed in a flower bed and wasn’t seriously hurt, Thorstenson said.
Each year, dozens of children throughout Washington end up in emergency rooms after similar falls from windows, usually between May and October. Warm weather plays a role, as people open windows they’ve kept closed during colder months.
“It starts this time of year,” Thorstenson said. “The weather gets nice, and people get spring fever.”
Most of the children hurt in the falls end up at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said Brian Johnston, chief of service at the Department of Pediatrics. Every year, the trauma center treats about 40 kids who have fallen from windows. Toddlers are the most at risk. About a third of them aren’t injured. Roughly 10 percent end up with a permanent disability; 1 percent die. The rest recover from their injuries, most commonly broken bones in the arms and head injuries, Johnston said. Still, it takes a long time for small children to heal.
“There is a period of weeks to months for a lot of these children to get where they were before they fell,” Johnston said.
The two children who fell in Marysville this month are the first in Snohomish County this year, Thorstenson said. In 2009, about a dozen children fell from windows in the county, roughly double the number in the previous year.
And those are only the reported cases in which medics were called. Parents often don’t seek medical attention if the child appears uninjured. That’s not such a good idea, Johnston said.
“Some injuries are internal,” he said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry and have the child checked out.”
Harborview has been tracking cases of children falling from windows for about five years. The hospital’s Injury Prevention and Research Center conducted research in the homes where children fell and learned that in most of them the children were supervised when they fell, Johnston said. That told researchers the parents usually aren’t negligent and can be within arm’s reach of the child when the accident happens.
Researchers also found that parents often don’t realize that window screens aren’t sturdy enough to support a child’s weight.
Prevention is the best strategy, Thorstenson said.
Never rely on window screens to hold, she said. Don’t open a window more than 4 inches. Consider securing all windows with guards that are available in hardware stores. Move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows.
The best way to protect children is to watch them, Thorstenson said.
“We have to be aware of where they are and what they are doing as much as we possibly can,” she said.
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, email@example.com.