FORT WORTH — At least three North Texas children have been hospitalized after falling out of windows. It's a dangerous and surprisingly frequent side effect of cooler weather that injures several thousand children a year.
As the weather cools down, it gets tempting to raise the windows to lower the air conditioning bill and bring in fresh air. But, those open windows have suddenly brought a rash of injuries to young children falling from two stories up.
"Probably while the weather is nice for a while, we'll have maybe five or 10 a week," said Sharon Evans, a registered nurse.
Evans said it's a surprisingly common problem. Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth treated 13 kids for falls from windows or balconies last year. That number is already up to 29 this year.
"[There are] lots of head injuries that concern us," Evans said.
An Internet search quickly brought up several recent cases of children getting hurt or killed after falling out of windows. If one goes back to 1987 in New York City, nine children died from falling out of windows in just a seven-month stretch.
"They do sell adapters that will actually screw right into the frame here," said Chuck Lanham, a window salesman.
Lanham said it's cheap and easy to put stops on windows, and many new custom windows already have them.
"Just push it in, they slide right up," he said. "...Two-and-a-half inches from the bottom is all you can get."
Safety experts also advise parents not to put children beds or other furniture near upper story windows, even if those windows are covered by screens.