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

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Influx of tourists helping to nurse Penticton’s economy back to health

The city has seen visitors multiply tenfold in recent weeks

Two vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Penticton

The crash happened before 3:30 p.m. in front of the Lakeside Inn and Suites

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Most Read