By WARREN CORNWALL
Like a circus performer safely plunging from the high-dive into a barrel of water, 3-year-old Stephanie Xu emerged unharmed from a three-story fall out an apartment window near Mill Creek on Monday.
The little girl flipped 21/2 times in her 25-foot midair tumble, landing face down in soft landscape bark, narrowly missing a rhododendron bush and a concrete curb, according to one witness.
"It was pretty scary," said neighbor David Robinson, 16, who said he was outside washing his car when the girl fell. He said he rushed to help bring her from where she had landed to her mother.
The accident was eerily repeated just blocks away several hours later, when a 6-year-old boy fell from a second-story window, said Leslie Hynes, spokeswoman for Snohomish County Fire District 1, which responded to both accidents.
Both children appeared to have no serious injuries. Stephanie Xu was treated and released from Providence Everett Medical Center’s Colby Campus. The boy was being treated at the same hospital, and didn’t appear to have any serious injuries, Hynes said.
In the earlier accident, Stephanie apparently climbed up on a desk adjacent to the bedroom window, popped the screen out of the window and fell, according to a press release from the fire district.
The girl’s father, Kai Xu, said the girl had climbed onto the desk before, and they usually made sure to close the window when they weren’t in the room.
"Today she forgot," he said of his wife, who was home with their three children when it happened about 12:20 p.m.
They now plan to move the desk away from the window, he said.
Each year an estimated 4,700 children age 14 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries suffered from falling out a window, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign, a national child-safety organization.
More than 70 percent of those accidents happen in the spring and summer.
"Parents need to be aware of the dangers open windows can pose for young children," Hynes said.
You can call Herald Writer Warren Cornwall at 425-339-3463 or send e-mail to
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