By Karen Sheehan, MD
How does one know when it is finally summer in Chicago?
a. When the first lightening bug is sighted
b. Every weekend is packed with multiple street fests
c. When children falling out of windows is not an uncommon event
d. All of the above
For those who are good standardized test takers, you probably figured out that ‘d’ was the correct answer because why would a pediatrician be writing about the first two?
Yes, children falling out of windows is an unintended consequence of warm weather in Chicago, but they are easily prevented by doing the following:
- Move furniture away from windows
- Don’t open windows more than 4 inches — if you have air conditioning, use sash/window stops as a reminder not to open your window too far.
- Use releasable child-safety window guards if you don’t have air conditioning. These guards can easily be removed by adults in an emergency.
- Open the window from the top down if possible
And remember — screens keep bugs (even beloved lightening bugs) out, not kids in.
Dr. Karen Sheehan is a general pediatrician and a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
After taking care of kids who fell from windows, or were shot, or were hit by cars, it occurred to her that it would be better to prevent such injuries in the first place. She now focuses on prevention and maximizing a child’s health and well-being.