Preventing window falls: Tips to keep kids safe

Every year, 3,300 children younger than 6 fall from windows, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Approximately eight of these falls will result in death.

The Tom Sargent Safety Center at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital shares the following tips to prevent window falls:

  • Install it. Screens are not strong enough to prevent a child from falling. Installing window guards or stops is the best way to prevent window falls. Experts recommend leaving the guards and stops in place until children are 11 years old.
  • Move it. Prevent children from getting to windows by moving items they can climb on – including beds, dressers and shelves – away from windows.
  • Lock it. Keep windows locked. Only open the windows that children can’t reach. If you have double-hung windows, only open them from the top.
  • Teach it. Create a no-play zone by moving all toys and decorations away from windows. Teach children not to play in this area.

If a fall does occur: Don’t try to move your child; call 911 immediately.

“Sadly, we often think of spring as ‘falling season’ because the weather gets warmer, and people begin to open their windows. Children are curious by nature and can easily and quickly fall through an open window,” said Ben Hoffman, M.D., medical director of our Tom Sargent Safety Center. “Unfortunately, falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization for children in the U.S. Parents and care providers should consider this and take necessary precautions to prevent potential falls. Using window stops and guards is an easy, cheap and very effective way to decrease the risk of serious injury.”

Ask about window safety toolkits (and other home safety resources) at our Tom Sargent Safety Resource Center, which is located just inside the OHSU Doernbecher lobby. It’s open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment. You may contact an Injury Prevention Educator weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 503-418-5666.

Updated June 3, 2021 to reflect new hours due to COVID-19