Expert: Inexpensive lock can keep kids from falling out windows

Expert: Inexpensive lock can keep kids from falling out windows
SEATTLE -- Two local children have fallen out of windows in less than a week in what experts say could have been preventable incidents.

A 2-year-old boy has serious injuries at Harborview Medical Center after dropping three stores at his Bothell house.

Dr. Lincoln Smith says enough is enough.

"These are preventable injuries. If the window can't open, the child can't fall out," he said.

Smith has treated dozens of kids, ages 1 to 6, who've fallen and now have brain damage.

"The small child's head is heavy compared to the rest of their body, so they normally hit head-first. Brain trauma is a major factor," he said.

He sees at least a 75 percent increase in falls in the warmer months, from May to August, compared to the rest of the year.

Last Saturday, a woman said a 3-year-old girl opened a window in Renton pushed out the screen, and dropped two stories. The child is OK as she landed in the grass.

"Certainly, if you have children that are under 6 years of age, there should be safety mechanisms on those windows."

Experts say one of the big problems is that people have screens mounted on the outside of the window. Children can come up on the ledge, push the screen and fall out. Most hardware stores sell child-proof locks for under $5.

"They basically have a very simple thumb screw or a wing nut. They go under the channel, so you can leave it open an inch or two for ventilation," said Smith.

The doctor hopes parents install the locks, and protect their children from a potential life-changing tragedy.