Oregon kids' windows falls drop nearly 50 percent

Safety campaign, media coverage credited

PORTLAND, Ore. - According to Oregon Trauma Registry data, the rate of children's window falls has decreased 46 percent from 2009 to 2011. Officials say the dramatic decrease  is due to the combined efforts of the media's increase in coverage and extensive outreach of a safety campaign:  STOP at 4": The Campaign to STOP window falls.

Safe Kids Oregon, housed in the Oregon Public Health Division, and Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel are lead sponsors of the STOP at 4" campaign.

According to Oregon Trauma Registry data about 50 children a year fell from windows from 2009 to 2010.  Over the last two years, the increase in media coverage has led to a growth in the community's awareness of window safety, saving children's lives. 2011 Oregon Trauma Registry data shows a 26 percent decrease in children's window falls, from 2009 to 2010, and in 2012 data shows a 46 percent reduction from 2009 to 2011. 

The STOP at 4" campaign started when community members and parents came together after a community forum hosted by Randall Children's Hospital. Co-founder Ashley Reck, lost her son Parker to a window fall in 2009. The campaign is dedicated to Parker's memory. The campaign comprised the launch of the STOP at 4" website and extensive media coverage of cases of children's window falls throughout the spring and summer.

The STOP at 4" campaign urges parents and families to continue their commitment to window safety by observing National Window Safety Week from April 7 to 13, 2013. Help save children's lives by asking your family and friends to visit to learn more about window safety.

In 2010, parents Jason and Becca Cunningham's 3-year-old son Thomas fell out of a third-story window and sustained life threatening injuries. Now Jason, a Portland Fire & Rescue firefighter, and his wife Becca, want other parents to know about the importance of window safety, especially in the spring and summer. 

Families are encouraged to install child safety window stops or guards, not window locks, on windows that pose a fall risk. Child safety window stops and guards, hands-on practice and one-on-one education are available at the Randall Children's Hospital Safety Center.

 "A window screen is not a safety device," says Sandy Nipper, R.N., Child Safety Coordinator at Randall Children's Hospital. "It's designed to keep insects out, not to keep children in. Properly selected and installed window guards or window stops save lives." The combination of education and window safety devices were shown to reduce window falls by 66 percent in Chicago since 1999 and 83 percent in Boston since 1993.

The STOP at 4" campaign reminds parents and caregivers:

*     Keep windows closed and locked when not in use

*     Keep furniture, and anything else a child can climb, away from windows

*     Only allow windows to open 4 inches. Install a window stop to keep children from  opening them further.  Be sure an adult can open them in an emergency.

*     If you open windows wider than 4 inches, install window guards with an emergency release device in case of emergency

*     Never try to move a child who appears to be seriously injured after a fall -- call 911 and let trained medical personnel move the child with proper precautions

*     For more information about window fall prevention visit

The campaign strives to reduce the number of children who fall from windows by urging families to install child safety window stops or guards and to educate families about window fall prevention.

Campaign members include Randall Children's Hospital, Safe Kids Oregon, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Portland Fire & Rescue, Washington County Sheriff's Department, American Medical Response, Mercer Windows, PreventThink, parents and concerned community members

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