Falls from high windows more common in boys

Boys are far more likely to fall out of high windows than girls, a study reveals.

It found that boys were involved in 33 out of 45 cases of high-window falls recorded by an Irish children’s hospital over 21 months — a ratio of nearly 3:1.

The study examined all high window fall cases admitted to Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin between Jan 2010 and Sept 2012.

In 80% of the cases looked at, the children were aged one to five, four were aged between five and 10 years, and eight were over 10 years of age.

There were 31 children, including 22 boys, who fell from a height under 3.68m and 12 (10 boys) who fell from a height of between 3.66m and 7.35m.

Eight children sustained limb fractures, four had skull vault fractures, and one had a basal skull fracture.

There were two children who died after falling out of high-rise apartment windows — height greater than 7.35m. Both had multiple injuries, including significant head trauma.

The study found that the falls peaked over the spring and summer months.

Consultant paediatrician at Temple Street, Prof Alf Nicholson, said the study showed common serious injury risk factors in high window falls included young age, a fall from a height greater than two storeys, and a hard landing surface.

“Parents should be aware that the incidence of falls is particularly high among young boys,” he said. “There are a number of simple measures that can be taken, however, to minimise the risks and safeguard children in the home.

“Prevention should focus on the use of window guards and window locks as well as placement of furniture away from windows and softening of landing surfaces below.”

Prof Nicholson said an urgent review of window locks in high-rise apartments was also required.


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