Child Falls from Window

A young child falls from an open, third story window in a college residence intended for students with families.

HF Investigation: Age, gender, height, and weight of child; height and dimension of the baseboard heater that was located below the window; the presence or absence of safety latches or window guards; the nature of any activities that were occurring outside the unit that could be viewed from the window; and the location and activities of the child's guardian.
HF Issues: Can it be anticipated that young children are at risk of falling out of windows? If so, did the design of the window in conjunction with the location of the baseboard heater pose an unreasonable risk of injury to young children?
HF Analysis: A scale drawing of the window, baseboard heater, and child was generated. Anthropometric data on children were used to determine the child's probable center of gravity and stepping height. The analysis of the anthropometric data indicated that the child could easily step onto the top of the baseboard heater and then onto the window sill. However, once the child was standing on the heater, he was at risk of falling out the window as his center of gravity was several inches above the sill. If the child leaned against the screen while standing on the baseboard heater, then more likely than not, he would fall out the window if the screen gave way.

The New York City Department of Health has developed a disk to assist residents in determining whether a window opening would pose a hazard to young children. - Actual size of disk is 5 inches in diameter.

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