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Call for US-style campaign to cut child window deaths

DOCTORS have called for a US-style publicity campaign warning of the dangers of infants falling from windows following a study of 45 cases where children were hospitalised.

The study comes after a number of babies died after falling from apartment windows in recent years.

In April 2012, 21-month-old Sebastian Pereira Kus died when he fell from a fourth floor window of an apartment block in Inchicore in west Dublin.

Last September, an 18-month-old girl died after falling from a third floor window in a Tolka Valley apartment complex.

In Tallaght, a little boy (2), survived a fall from a second floor window last summer.

The Irish doctors say targeted prevention strategies in the US, combined with data collection, publicity campaigns and building regulations reduced high falls by 93pc.

The study, led by Dr Brigid Freyne of Temple St Hospital, which looked at children who were admitted over two years, found that of the 45 falls, 33 were in children under five and boys are three times more likely to be involved.

DEATHS

There were 44 falls from windows, 31 from less than 12 feet and seven were witnessed. The extent of injury was linked to the height of fall. The two children who fell more than 24 feet both died, the findings in the Irish Medical Journal revealed.

The study pointed out that in Ireland, injury is the leading cause of death in children and adolescents age 0-19 years. Unintentional injuries contributed to nearly one in five of child and adolescent deaths in Ireland.

"Targeted safety programmes have been shown to be effective in urban areas," it added. In New York city the "Children Can't Fly" programme consisted of extensive education, the distribution of free window guards and legislation mandating owners of multiple dwellings where children reside to provide window guards.

Of the children treated in the Dublin hospital from January 2010 to September 2012, in 10 cases the child was described as having "jumped".

The doctors said assessments were conducted after a fall in incidents following the US campaign to identify risk factors. These included low-lying windows, balcony design faults, items of furniture placed near windows and supervision levels.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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