Keep kids safe near balconies and windows, warns BC Children’s Hospital

Jon Manchester

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Just a week after a toddler fell from a third-floor balcony in Kelowna, BC Children’s Hospital is sounding a warning as warm weather leads to open patio doors and windows.

So far this year, the hospital has treated six children who have fallen from windows or balconies, including the Kelowna boy. Last year, 15 children were treated for similar falls.

Apartment balconies/Shutterstock

Most falls from windows or balconies (66%) involve children aged six and under, with head injuries and fractures to shoulders and upper arms the most common consequences.

“A child’s fall can be devastating for a family. We are urging parents and caregivers to take steps to keep kids safe near windows and on balconies,” says Dr. Genevieve Ernst. “Toddlers are especially vulnerable because they are curious, they love to climb and often don’t recognize when they are putting themselves at risk.”

Parents are urged to not leave children unattended on balconies or decks, to move furniture and planters away from windows, lock balcony doors, have screens and window guards on all upper floor windows.

If a child has fallen more than five feet and has lost consciousness or is vomiting, this could be the result of a head injury. Call 911 immediately, the hospital advises.

In the Kelowna incident, a woman was woken up to a child crying on May 21 and found a two-year-old boy lying on the ground outside their Gerstmar Road apartment building.

The two-year-old sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Vancouver for advanced care.