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Marysville Fire District warns against dangers of children falling

MARYSVILLE — Marysville Fire District personnel hope to prevent a repeat of an incident that occurred July 20.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., the fire district received a call that a 2-year-old boy had fallen from a second-story window, at the location of 45th Avenue and 133rd Place. An airlift was called to transport the child from their landing zone, at Shoultes Elementary, to Harborview Medical Center.

Kristen Thorstenson, public information officer for the Marysville Fire District, hopes this unfortunate incident will remind children and adults alike that "window screens keep bugs out, but they don't keep kids in."

According to Thorstenson, approximately 18 children die from such window fall-related injuries each year, and an estimated 4,700 children are sent to hospital emergency rooms.

"If you could make one place a safe haven for your children, where would it be?" Thorstenson said. "For many parents, the answer is, in their homes, yet research shows that more than 4.5 million children are injured in the home every year."

Thorstenson explained that falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury for children, with children ages 14 and under accounting for one-third of all fall-related visits to hospital emergency rooms, and more than half of all nonfatal injuries to children associated with falls.

"Taking simple prevention measures and closely supervising your children can help protect them from common household hazards," Thorstenson said. "Little kids, from 1-4 years old, do more on their own and love to explore, but they don't have an understanding of the risks and dangers around them. They are more mobile and move faster, so you'll need to be one step ahead of them at all times."

Thorstenson offered the following suggestions to help keep these youngsters safe:

- Install stair gates.

- Use stationary play centers instead of baby walkers.

- Use playgrounds that are age-appropriate, for children under 5, and have safe surfacing, such as shredded rubber or sand.

- Don't put toys or things that attract children on top of furniture.

- Place furniture away from windows and secure it to the wall.

- Install window locks.

- Never open a window more than five inches.

Thorstenson added that "older kids," from 5-9 years old, take bigger risks and are even more active and independent, but still do not have a good grasp of the risks and dangers around them. She cited falls off playground equipment as a common issue for such children.

"If your child does have a fall, seek medical attention," Thorstenson said. "Kids respond differently to trauma to their bodies than adults do. Warnings signs would be sleepiness and irritability, which can also be normal behaviors, so err on the side of caution."

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