A four-year-old child was injured after falling out of a window in Surrey in September 2019 – one of 14 high-fall incidents in B.C. that year. (Shane MacKichan photos)

Child, 3, falls from window in Burnaby, sparking warning from BC Children’s Hospital

Fasten windows and lock balconies are just a few of the suggested safety measures

A child is recovering after falling from an open window this week in Burnaby in what could have been a family’s worst nightmare. The incident has sparked calls by health officials urging parents to take preventative measures as the weather warms up.

According to RCMP, a three-year-old fell 20 feet from a second floor window on Wednesday night (June 24). In a statement, police said the parent was getting their children read for bed when the child left the room unnoticed.

The parent discovered the child moments later on the ground outside the home. They were rushed to BC Children’s Hospital and suffered only minor injuries, police said.

So far this year, BC Children’s Hospital has already treated nine children for falling from windows or balconies. Tragically, one of the children died from their injuries.

ALSO READ: 15 children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

In 2019, 14 children under 16 years old were treated at the Vancouver-based hospital for falls from high elevations. More than three quarters of these falls each year happen between April and September, when the weather is warmer.

The pandemic has kept families in their homes more than ever, making window and balcony safety top of mind for Dr. Ash Singhal, a pediatric neurosurgeon at BC Children’s.

Regardless of the severity of injuries, a single instance of a children falling through a window can impact the entire family, says Singhal.

“In the days and weeks after we treat a child, we see the incredible personal and emotional impacts of the injury on the child and parents, grandparents and on all the care givers,” Singhal explained. “We want to try to help prevent that from happening again.”

The hospital is offering a number of safety tips to parents and guardians, including:

  • Don’t leave children unattended on balconies or decks.
  • Move furniture and planters – or anything that can be climbed on – away from windows, balcony railings and balcony door handles. Lock balcony doors.
  • Install window guards on windows above the ground floor. Fasten windows so that they cannot open more than 10 centimetres wide but ensure there is a safety release.

  • Talk to your children about the dangers of opening or playing near windows, particularly on upper floors.

Toddlers are most vulnerable to window falls

Head injuries and fractures to shoulders and upper arms are the most common injuries sustained from falls. Ninety per cent of the time it’s a child aged six or younger.

Toddlers are especially vulnerable to window falls because they are curious and love to climb but also have a higher centre of gravity than babies so they can easily fall headfirst through a window screen if they lean against it, BC Children’s said in a news release.

Paramedic specialist Ole Olsen said taking measures to better protect children in their home can prevent serious safety hazards.

“I think that’s one of the most tragic calls that a paramedic or a first responder can attend to, especially knowing a few simple actions can make a home more secure for children and prevent devastating falls.”

If a child has fallen more than 1.5 metres, or five feet, and has lost consciousness or is vomiting they may have sustained a head injury and 911 should be called immediately.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Emergency Preparedness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Castlegar emergency service group looking for volunteers

Volunteers work with both the provincial emergency service program and the Red Cross.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Cobra Stairs in Castlegar reopen to public

A tree fell on the roof of the stairs earlier this month

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read