Unintentional Window Falls in Children and Adolescents.

Document Type


Publication Date



Trauma & Acute Care Surgery

Journal Title

Acad Pediatr

MeSH Headings

Child, Humans, Adolescent, Accidental Falls, Risk Factors


OBJECTIVE: Unintentional window falls represent a preventable source of injury and death in children. Despite major campaigns in some larger cities, there continue to be unintentional falls from windows throughout the United States. We aimed to identify risk factors and trends in unintentional window falls in the pediatric population in a national and regional sample.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of annual ED visits from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) using product codes specific to windows, as well as patient encounters for unintentional window falls from January 2007 - August 2017 using site-specific trauma registries from 10 tertiary care children's hospitals in New England. National and state-specific census population estimates were used to compute rates per 100,000 population.

RESULTS: There were 38,840 ED visits and 496 regional patients who unintentionally fell from a window across the study period between 0-17 years old. The majority of falls occurred in children under the age of 6, and were related to falls from a second story or below. A decreased trend in national ED visits was seen, but no change in rates over time for regional trauma center encounters. A high number of falls were found to occur in smaller cities surrounding metropolitan areas and from single family residences.

CONCLUSIONS: Falls from windows represent a low proportion of overall types of unintentional sources of injury in children, but are a high-risk for severe disability. These results provide updated epidemiologic data for targeted intervention programs, as well as raise awareness for continued education and advocacy.