Children often learn to climb before they learn to walk. Toddlers and pre-schoolers are at the highest risk of falling from a window or balcony but falls can happen at any age. Every year, young children fall from windows and balconies, resulting in EMS response, emergency department visits and, in some cases, hospitalization and death. In 2023, there have been approximately 44 emergency department visits due to window falls.
Supervising children is the best way to prevent falls and other childhood injuries. If there are young children in your home or under your supervision:
- Be aware of open windows. Screens are not strong enough to keep children in.
- Move furniture such as cribs, beds, stools and change tables away from windows.
- Install window guards on all windows on the second floor and above. These act like gates in front of windows. Ensure window guards have release mechanisms so it can be fully opened by an adult in case of an emergency.
- Install safety devices that limit how wide a window can open to a maximum of 10 cm (four inches).
- Remove outdoor furniture and other items stored on balconies and decks that can be used to climb, resulting in a fall over a railing. When spending time outdoors on balconies, supervise children at all times.
- Ensure your balcony’s vertical railings are no more than 10 cm (four inches) apart.
- Keep drapery cords out of the reach of children. Wrap excess cord around cleats, or tie-down devices placed high on the wall, to avoid a choking hazard.
For resources to prevent falls for infants and young children, visit Healthy Parents Healthy Children.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Our mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. Our current focus is on reducing emergency department wait-times, improving EMS response times, increasing access to surgeries, and improving patient flow.