‘Nobody thinks it’s going to happen to them’ — a reminder for child-proofing windows

Many parents don't realize the danger posed by unsecured windows, says Fraser Health's Iain MacPhail

Parents may not realize the danger posed by open windows.

Parents may not realize the danger posed by open windows.

The tragic death of a Langley boy serves as a sobering reminder that your home may not be as safe for young children as you think, according to Iain MacPhail, regional medical director of trauma services for Fraser Health.

A four-year-old boy died on Thursday afternoon after falling out of a window at a townhouse complex in Willoughby.

Related story: Four-year-old boy dies after fall from window

“Nobody ever thinks this is going to happen to them,” he said.

“And nobody ever thinks that somebody is going to be curious enough to fall out of a window. I think it’s just a matter of being aware that this is a thing, this happens.”

MacPhail said that last year there were about four toddlers who fell out windows in the Fraser Health region, resulting in varying degrees of injury.

“It doesn’t happen very often but there’s unfortunately a season for it and it happens at least three or four times [a year] and it’s usually when the warm weather starts.”

He said parents are often sure to toddler-proof “areas of minor injury,” like coffee tables and fireplaces, but don’t think as much about the possibility of a child falling out a window.

“You have to be vigilant. You have to look at the area around your windows. Upstairs, you have to lock them,” he said.

MacPhail suggested securing windows so that they can only be partially opened, as well.

He said he has seen a wide variety of severity in injuries among children who have fallen from windows.

“Surprisingly, I’ve had kids fall out of windows that have had no injuries and then of course yesterday there was  a death. So it’s very hard to predict. It depends on what they fall onto, and of course, how high it is as well.”

He said it is especially rare for a four-year-old to fall out of a window.

The average age for children who do so is usually two years old.