Every year, thousands of children fall from windows and balconies at homes, apartment buildings, high-rise condominiums, and hotels, often with tragic or fatal consequences.
In far too many of these cases, severe injury and wrongful death could have been prevented by something as simple as a window guard or a better-designed balcony railing.
Our Child Injury Lawyers have filed lawsuits on behalf of victims of negligent accidents, including preventable falls from windows and balconies, earning national recognition for their aggressive pursuit of justice on behalf of injured kids and their families.
Stats on Childhood Window and Balcony Falls
Annually, more than 4,000 children in the United States receive emergency medical treatment following a fall from a window or balcony. An average of 12 kids die every year as a result of such falls.
About 70% of these kids fall from a second or third-story window. In most cases, the windows had properly installed screens.
The majority of serious childhood falls occur at home. In fact, kids are about twice as likely to suffer a fall-related injury in their home than at a daycare, school or other child care facility.
Children under seven years of age are at the most at risk of falling from a window or balcony. The greatest number of falls involve children between the ages of two and five.
According to a British Medical Journal study investigating childhood falls from windows and balconies in Dallas County, Texas, from 1997-1999, about 75% of severe injuries involved falls from apartment buildings. Kids fell from a window in 52% of those cases and 45% fell from a balcony.
More than two-thirds of the balcony related falls occurred because railing slats were more than 4 inches (10 cm) apart, allowing a baby or small child to squeeze through the slats. In more than two-thirds of the window-related falls, the window was situated within 2 feet (61 cm) of the floor.
Stats suggest children are more likely to fall from a window or balcony in the summer and autumn months when the air conditioning is off, windows are open, and the occupants of apartments or condos are more likely to use their balconies.
Falls from height are more common in cities than in rural areas, simply because there are far more tall buildings in urban areas. However, the risk is also significant at beach resorts and other vacation destinations where high-rise hotels and condos typically have balconies.
Typical Childhood Fall Injuries
A child can suffer a severe or deadly injury from a fall of just 10 feet, especially if their tiny body lands on a hard surface:
- Head Injuries: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Protect the Ones You Love campaign, falls are the leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury for children ages 0 to 4.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: The impact on a child’s body can fracture vertebrae or cause slipped or herniated discs. Any injury to the spinal cord may result in temporary or permanent paralysis and other neurological and sensory impairments.
- Fractures: The impact of a fall can fracture bones in any part of the body, including the legs, arms, pelvis, hips, back, shoulders, and skull.
- Internal Bleeding: A fall may also damage blood vessels, resulting in brain hemorrhage or other forms of internal bleeding.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Children who fall from any height may suffer contusions and bruises, as well as muscle and tendon injuries, including sprains, strains, and tears.
Keeping Kids Safe Around Windows and Balconies
For your child’s safety and your peace of mind, take these precautions whenever your son or daughter is close to a balcony or a window:
- Never assume any unlocked window is childproof.
- Never leave a child unattended near a window or on or near a balcony.
- Never allow kids to climb onto a balcony railing or window sill to get a better view.
- Secure all windows and balcony doors with childproof locks and latches.
- It’s extremely easy to remove or tear a window screen. Never count on screens to prevent your child from falling out a window.
- Keep windows closed or install window guards or other safety devices to prevent kids from opening the window beyond 4 inches without assistance from an adult. But remember, even the best safety devices can’t replace adequate supervision.
- Keep cribs, chairs, ottomans, and other climbable furniture away from windows.
- If you live in an apartment or condo, make sure any mechanical safety devices designed to prevent kids from opening windows more than 4 inches are in good working order.
- When opening a window for ventilation, choose a window kids can’t reach or open windows from the top whenever possible.
- Use barriers to prevent crawling infants and toddlers from accessing the upper floors of your home.
- Never allow children to play on a fire escape or rooftop.
- Make sure the spaces between balcony railing slats or balusters are no bigger than 4 inches. Install a mesh barrier or plastic shield around balcony railings to keep kids from climbing between the slats.
- Keep furniture away from the railings of a balcony, high deck, porch or terrace.
- Talk with your kids about window and balcony safety. Make sure they understand screens won’t stop a fall and enforce rules that they always play a safe distance from balcony railings or windows.
Contact an Experienced Child Window and Balcony Fall Lawyer
As a nationally recognized Child Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience representing the victims of preventable and negligent accidents and consistently wins highly-favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients. Although past success cannot be construed as a prediction of your case’s outcome, Jeffrey Killino will work diligently and aggressively to make sure those responsible for your child’s injuries are held accountable. If your son or daughter was hurt in a fall from a window or balcony, please contact us at 1-877-875- 2927.