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Video: Study: Open windows pose big risks for kids

  1. Transcript of: Study: Open windows pose big risks for kids

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Back now at 7:43. There's an important warning out this morning from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the dangers of children falling out of windows. It happens to more than 5,000 kids every year and the injuries can be severe. NBC 's Tom Costello has more this morning. Tom , good morning.

    TOM COSTELLO reporting: Hi, Ann. Good morning to you. Spring, summer and fall are the seasons when this most often happens because, of course, the windows are open. Kids love to explore, climb up on a piece of furniture, they push against the screen, and all too often tragedy can follow. At the Bacher home in Washington state , Kevin and Kelli thought their two boys were asleep in their bunk beds upstairs until they heard a terrible crash and thud.

    Mr. KEVIN BACHER (Victims' Father): That was the worst moment of our lives, when we opened the back door and the boys were on the concrete patio behind the house.

    COSTELLO: Seven-year-old David and four-year-old Daniel had leaned on the screen and tumbled out of their window . David 's injuries were not life-threatening, but Daniel was struggling to breathe.

    Ms. KELLI BACHER (Victims' Mother): I didn't know if they were going to survive.

    COSTELLO: Daniel was airlifted to Tacoma General Hospital , then to Children's Hospital in Seattle . Unresponsive at first, with a skull fracture, he awoke unable to talk or swallow, with weakness along his right side.

    Ms. ANGELA MICKALIDE: They're meant to keep bugs out, not children inside the house.

    COSTELLO: Safe Kids ' Angela Mickalide hears similar stories year-round. And new research shows window falls are not limited to big cities with big apartment buildings. While 6 1/2 percent of kids who fell were three stories or more above the ground, nearly 31 percent of the kids fell from one-story windows, and nearly 63 percent fell from two stories.

    Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

    COSTELLO: Single-family homes are very often the scene of window falls .

    Dr. GARY A. SMITH (Nationwide Children's Hospital): Many of these children, about half, had injuries to the head or face.

    COSTELLO: Of the 5200 kids who fall out of windows every year, the vast majority are boys, five years old or younger.

    Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

    COSTELLO: Children four and under are most likely to sustain head injuries , be hospitalized or die of their injuries. Experts urge parents to install window stops, to prevent kids from raising the window , and window guards if the window is left open.

    Ms. MICKALIDE: They allow the window to be open for the cool breeze to come in, but the children can't fall out.

    COSTELLO: Back in Washington , Daniel spent a month in the hospital and years in therapy. Today, he's 10, and David is 13.

    Mr. BACHER: Every day we go in and we tuck them in at night, and every day I thank God that they're still here.

    COSTELLO: Both Boston and New York have developed public education programs to keep kids from falling out of high-rise windows. And in fact, they require landlords to install those window guards with -- where apartments -- where kids are living in apartments. Also, we should point out, Ann , that those window guards, they come with an emergency release button so that you can open up or release the guard in case of a fire.

    CURRY: That's right .

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