Falls from windows in urban areas cause a significant number of pediatric injuries. Window falls have not been well described in the nonurban setting. We describe the epidemiology of window falls from residential homes among pediatric patients at a suburban Level I trauma center.
A review of patients admitted from January 1991 through November 1999 to a center serving a rapidly growing suburban area was performed.
A total of 2,322 children, ages 0–14 years, were admitted during the study period. Falls comprised 41% of these admissions, and 11% of falls were from windows, greater than twice the national average. More than 39% of children who fell from windows were admitted directly to the intensive care unit. Overall mortality rate was 4%. Ages 0 to 4 years comprised the largest percentage (83%), and all children who died were in this age group. Children ≤ 4 years were more likely to have an Abbreviated Injury Score ≥ 2 (head injury) than those ages 10 to 14 years (p = 0.032). More than 31% of all children injured in window falls seen at the study institution between 1991 and 1999 were admitted in the last 2 years.
Pediatric falls from windows in this suburban area appear to be increasing, with an incidence greater than the national average. Children at greatest risk are less than 4 years old. Further research in injury prevention at the national level aimed at suburban areas may be warranted.