Friday, October 21, 2011

One Year Later...

One year ago today, a darling, sweet, almost 4 year fell out his window and suffered extreme brain damage.  I'm reposting an excerpt from a long letter she wrote, in hopes that her message will help others protect their children.

For you, Becca.

We did have many other child protection devices. In fact, we'd gone beyond the well-known safety products such as outlet covers. For example, we had mesh over the rails on our deck even though the deck isn't very high. After a thorough research on car safety, we'd opted for Britax car seats and even have our seven-year-old in a 5 point harness with side impact protection. I'd also made a call to the Washington Poison Center to request Mr. Yuk stickers and put them on anything that might be poisonous for kids to drink even though they were all in locked cabinets. Most heartbreaking is that we had the cords for our blinds wrapped up high so he couldn't reach them and accidentally choke himself. In fact, it was those cords that he was fascinated by and reaching for the day he fell from his window. It was nap time and since he wasn't tired, he was just quietly playing in his room. In that one moment of childhood curiosity, he lost so much!

Almost a year later, I am still haunted by visions of blood running out of my son's ear and skull, his eyes fluttering closed and by the uncertainty for his future. My son, my husband and I, and our other two children to some extent, will forever live in the prison created by the consequences of not installing window guards.

Our son was an intelligent, well-behaved little boy. Several days prior to his accident, my husband had explained to him very clearly how dangerous his window could be. He listened and seemed to register every bit of information. He understood it... but just at the level that a 4-year-old can, not the way adults comprehend real dangers. He was curious and in the end, talking wasn't enough. Telling kids to stay away from windows isn't necessarily enough to avoid tragedy. I wish we'd known then what we know now about window guards.

I'm certain there are many educated, involved and loving parents out there who don't have child safety window locks, but would install them if they knew the risk compared with the minimal effort and time to put them on. Talking to your children necessarily isn't enough to avoid tragedy. Fifty children a year fall from windows in Oregon alone and 5,000 nationwide. I strongly encourage you to get child safe window stops or 4-inch window opening limiters if you don't already have them. Here are three window safety products recommended by the Safety Store located inside the Legacy Emanuel hospital:

Guardian Angel window guards.

Kid Co Window Stop.

KidCo Mesh Window Guard

Window guards or child safe window locks can be simple and cheap and they are worth your child's continued well-being. The staff at the Safety Store of Emanuel hospital are passionate and knowledgeable about window safety and more than willing to help. Their number is 503-413-4600.

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