Many homes contain a danger to children that few parents ever consider – window screens. More than 5,000 children a year (or 14 each day) are treated in emergency rooms annually in the United States due to falls from windows, with a fourth of them requiring hospitalization.
And screens, a device you might think would prevent injuries, are actually often the culprit, offering the false promise of safety. In fact, one report notes that 83 percent of windows from which a child falls had a screen. In some of these cases, a screen may be broken, defective or have a tendency to come loose.
If your child suffered a serious injury due to a fall from a window, you should contact Kline & Specter, PC, which has the experience investigating and litigating just such tragic cases.
Shanin Specter won a $12.25 million settlement in a case in which a young boy, not quite three years old, suffered brain damage and the loss of sight in one eye after a three-story fall from a Philadelphia apartment. Specter’s investigation found that here had been a long-standing problem with the screens -- that pins holding them in place had a tendency to “pop out” – and that the apartment complex management had been notified previously by other tenants. (Read about The Woolfolk Case)
In a recent case, a four-year-old boy was killed in a fall from a seventh-floor apartment balcony near Philadelphia’s City Avenue. Police said a window screen leading to the balcony was broken.
The journal Pediatrics noted that an estimated 98,415 children were treated over a 19-year period in hospitals for injuries attributable to a fall from a window, or an average of 5,180 yearly. The greatest incidence of falls from windows occurred with children two to five years old.
Kline & Specter has more than 40 attorneys, five of whom are also highly skilled medical doctors. Call us for a free consultation of your case. We handle cases in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide.
The following notes have been offered for helping to prevent children from falling from windows in multiple-dwelling apartment units:
1-Supervise small children at all times.
2- Window screens are designed to keep insects out, but because they are not strong enough to keep children inside, they will not prevent falls from windows.
3-Avoid placing furniture, on which children may climb, near windows or on balconies.
4-Install locks on windows to prevent sliding windows not intended for egress from opening more than four inches.
5-Open double-hung windows from the top only.
6-Fixed guards, commonly used to prevent intrusion, should not be used, because they may prevent egress in the case of fire. Install operable window guards on second- and higher-story windows (unless prohibited by local fire regulations).