Falls from windows injure three kids

April 17 began like most days. After breakfast, Angel Jarzebczyk and her two young sons, Isaac and Luke, sat on the upstairs master bedroom floor, playing with building blocks.

By By:Pam Gibbens
Posted 4/29/04

"We were building a castle," Angel recalled. Isaac, a curious two-year-old, was just a few feet from his mother when he suddenly disappeared. "I …

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Falls from windows injure three kids

April 17 began like most days. After breakfast, Angel Jarzebczyk and her two young sons, Isaac and Luke, sat on the upstairs master bedroom floor, playing with building blocks.

Posted

"We were building a castle," Angel recalled.

Isaac, a curious two-year-old, was just a few feet from his mother when he suddenly disappeared.

"I noticed he wasn't in the room," Angel said; who lives in Founder's Village in Castle Rock. "I looked over and saw that the window screen was gone."

Isaac had fallen two stories to the ground, when the screen of an open bedroom window he leaned on gave way.

Isaac, luckily, suffered only scrapes and bumps. He is one of three children in Castle Rock who have fallen out of upstairs windows in three weeks.

"It's kind of alarming," said Detective Vern Myers, with the Castle Rock Police Department, who responded April 17 to the Jarzebczyk home. "Last year there was one (screen accident) and the year before, there were none."

On April 8, a five-year-old child fell 30 feet to the ground at her home on Chimney Peak Drive.

Police reports say, the young girl was sitting on a windowsill with her back against the screen. When she leaned back, the screen gave way. In this incident, the child suffered critical injuries.

On April 13, another five-year-old child from Castle Rock fell through an upstairs screened window. The young boy suffered only minor injuries, Myers said.

Spring is the time of year that these kind of accidents occur, said John Ulczycki, spokesperson for the National Safety Council.

"People are just starting to open their windows to air out the house after winter. But they need to be aware of the danger," he said. "… windows come with screens to keep insects out. They are not made to keep children in."

Coincidentally, April 18 through April 24 was National Window Safety week.

Myers, who has five children of his own, said these types of accidents are preventable.

"There is no way you can child-proof your home 100 percent," he said. "You do the best you can. But there are window guards and locks. Window gates are not readily available, but they can be purchased on the Internet."

Window guards are devices that mount inside the window with bars spaced not more than four inches apart. But an adult must be able to open the window quickly in case of an emergency, such as a fire, Myers said.

Ulczycki suggested several simple rules.

"First of all, if children are unsupervised at all, windows should be closed and locked," he said. "People who have young children should make sure that furniture such as chairs, beds and sofas aren't positioned below windows. Children love to climb and they like to look out of windows."

Fortunately, Isaac wasn't seriously injured, even though he apparently hit and shattered the window of the family's minivan.

"We assume when he fell he hit the roof ledge under the window first, bounced off and hit the car below," his mother said. "Isaac had scrapes on his face and a goose egg in the center of his forehead. Thankfully, I didn't see him fall or I'd probably have nightmares."

Isaac doesn't remember the fall. "He doesn't think anything of it," Jarzebczyk said.

But his mother can't forget it.

"I just hope other parents will get window guards so this won't happen to their child," she said.

For more information about home safety, visit the National Safety Council's Web site at www.nsc.org or Safe and Sound at www.123safe.com.

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