Open windows often unrecognized danger Anne Arundel youngsters hurt in Friday accidents

March 30, 1998|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

Safety experts are cautioning parents about an often unrecognized danger of warmer weather -- open windows.

In Anne Arundel County, two children were injured when they fell out of windows Friday afternoon, when temperatures reached the 80s.

One of the victims -- 2-year-old Justin Collins -- was in stable condition yesterday at Hopkins Hospital. Authorities said he pushed open a screen in the second-floor bedroom of his home in the 7900 block of Sutherland Court in Pasadena, fell out of the window and landed on his head on concrete.

The other, a 7-year-old boy who fell from a third-floor window of a townhouse in the 7800 block of Tall Pines Road in Glen Burnie, was released from Hopkins on Saturday.

"It's a seasonal thing," said Capt. Allan Graves, an Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman. "When the weather gets warmer, people open their windows, trusting that their kids won't get near an open window."

Nationwide each year, experts say, an estimated 70 children die because of falls from windows.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 25 percent of the children who die from falling out of windows are under age 10. More than 3 million children are treated for injuries suffered in falls from windows, stairs or furniture, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.

Child safety experts make these suggestions to parents:

Open windows that children can't reach.

Do not place furniture under windows. Also, keep blinds, cords and drapes -- which could be used for climbing -- out of children's reach.

Do not sit in windowsills because children might follow that example.

Use window guards, which can be purchased at a hardware store. The metal guards screw into the window frame and are easy to release in event of an emergency.

Don't depend on screens to protect a child from falling out of a window. "Screens give people a false sense of security," Graves said.

Barbara W. Beckett, the state coordinator for the Maryland SAFE KIDS Coalition, said: "Screens are strong enough to keep bugs out, but they don't keep children in."

Pub Date: 3/30/98

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