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Parents urged to take precautions to prevent window falls

EVERETT, Wash., September 10, 2021 — South County Fire is urging parents and caregivers of young children to take precautions as injuries from child window falls are nearing record-setting levels in Snohomish County.

“At least 10 window falls have occurred in Snohomish County since April – including three in the last week,” said Wendy Burchill, Snohomish Health District Healthy Communities communications specialist. “We’re still compiling summer data, so we don’t know the full picture just yet. We typically see eight window falls per year and our record a few years back was 12. We are on pace to exceed that number this year.”

Half of the falls reported occurred in South County Fire’s service area, which includes Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and unincorporated southwest Snohomish County. Injuries have ranged from minor to severe.

“An alarming trend is that caregivers are bypassing 911 and taking their children to the emergency room in their private vehicles. The danger in this is that if the child has a serious injury, such as a spinal cord injury, moving them could cause further damage and a lifelong disability or even death,” explained Shawneri Guzman, South County Fire outreach manager and coordinator for Sake Kids Snohomish County childhood injury coalition.

South County Fire and Safe Kids offers these safety tips to prevent child window falls:

  • Adult supervision is key. Unattended children run the greatest risk of falls and injuries, so the best first step is to watch children as they play.
  • Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not children in. Screens can easily give way under a child’s weight.
  • For crawlers and climbers, move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows.
  • Install window locks or guards to prevent the window from opening more than 4 inches. Window locks and guards are affordable and can be found at hardware stores and online. If you need assistance, many local fire departments can help, including Everett Fire Department, Marysville Fire District, South County Fire and Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue.

Safe Kids Snohomish County is a local coalition of Safe Kids Worldwide. Our mission is to eliminate accidental death and injury in children.  We do this by coordinating with our local partners to provide education and resources.  South County Fire serves as the lead agency for this not-for-profit program.   

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