June 3, 2011
Seven months ago, Portland firefighter Jason Cunningham and his wife learned the hard way that parents need more education about window-fall safety. Their three-year-old son fell out of a third story window and suffered life-threatening injuries. Like many parents, they say they took window safety for granted until that day.
"We hadn't consciously though about window safety until that day," said Cunningham. "We saw stories on the news about it, but didn't think it could happen to us. One event can change your life forever. We are much more aware of window safety now."
Their story is a sobering reminder to anyone who has children in their home that upper-story windows pose a hazard to kids, especially in spring and summer when people open the windows to let in the breeze. Children can easily lean against the screen and push it out of the window, or they can fall out an open, unscreened window.
"This Saturday, temperatures in the Portland area are projected to reach into the 80's. Many people will be opening windows to let in the sunshine," said Public Information Officer Paul Corah. "Portland Fire & Rescue urges parents to be vigilant when opening upper story windows around children this weekend."
Nationwide, more than 3,300 children, including 50 from Oregon, fell from windows last year according to leading statistics. In just the past several days, two Portland area children have fallen out of windows. Both were treated at local area hospitals and are expected to recover.
Portland Fire & Rescue encourages families to take a series of simple steps to ensure the safety of children in the home.
- Lock unopened doors and windows
- Keep furniture and anything a child can climb on away from windows
- Screens are designed to keep bugs out, and are not strong enough to keep children in
- Teach your children and their caregivers about window and home safety
- Install child-safety window guards, but be careful not to impede exiting
"Parents think that plugging electrical outlets and placing chemicals out of a child's reach makes their home safe. Learn from our family's experience and when childproofing your home, don't forget window safety," advises Cunningham.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
June 3, 2011