Summertime can mean extra risk for children

Parents should make sure windows are protected

It's tough being a kid in the summertime.

At least three children have fallen out of screened windows in recent weeks, with another three children being hit by cars last week.

Now fire and police officials are appealing to the community to keep a careful eye out for pint-sized pedestrians, children on bikes and flimsy window screens.

In the most recent incident, a 3-year-old Gresham girl survived a fall a third-story apartment in the 19000 block of East Burnside Street when the window screen she was leaning against gave way at 3:27 p.m. Monday, July 24.

Luckily, the girl landed on a pile of soft bark dust, miraculously missing nearby railings, concrete and tree roots, said Jim Klum, deputy chief of Emergency Operations for Gresham Fire and Emergency Services.

'We were all very happy to hear her crying, to see her active and alert,' Klum said, adding that the child was taken to a local hospital but did not appear seriously injured.

With recent record-breaking heat, Klum said local firefighters and emergency medical technicians have responded to three or four such calls involving small children falling out of screened windows. But those falls were from first- or second-story windows, not a third-story window like in Monday's incident, Klum added.

Parents of small children are encouraged to examine screens to make sure they are secure or to place screens inside windows instead of fastening them outside.

Klum also recommends checking balcony and banister railings. If a little head can fit between the railings, so can the tiny body attached. Clear banister guards, that can double as balcony guards, are available at stores and online.

Various Web sites remind people that screens are designed to keep insects out, not children in and offer the following window safety suggestions: Place screws in window frames to keep windows open enough to let air in, but not enough to let children out (devices called window stops do the same thing); use baby gates over window frames or barred devices called window guards; and if possible, open windows from the top, not the bottom.

Pedestrian accidents

Vehicles hit three local children last week.

• At 6:43 p.m. Monday, July 17, a 9-year-old boy was hit by a Ford Expedition in the 2400 block of Southeast Hudson Court in Troutdale.

The boy bent over to tie his shoe in front of the stopped vehicle, making it impossible for the driver to see the child when the driver moved forward. The boy was in listed in serious condition when paramedics took him to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center, but he did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

• At 6:12 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, a 7-year-old boy was hit by a vehicle in the 900 block of Northeast 162nd Avenue. The boy was riding a bike when he pulled off a side street into the path of a vehicle. Because the bike's rear brakes were disconnected, the boy couldn't stop in time. He also was not wearing a helmet, but fire officials said the boy's injuries did not appear to be life threatening.

• At 10:56 a.m. Thursday, July 20, a 13-year-old girl riding a bike was hit by a vehicle in the 300 block of Northeast 181st Avenue off Northeast Everett Avenue. She was riding northbound on a sidewalk along 181st and also was not wearing a helmet - both of which are against the law - when the girl failed to stop before crossing a side street. Meanwhile, a motorist was turning right off a side street onto 181st and didn't see the girl, who was obscured by a hedge. Fire officials described the girl's injuries as non life threatening, adding that she was treated for an ankle injury at a local hospital.

Gresham Police Officer Barry Ozeroff said the combination of summer vacation and warm weather means more children are out and about.

And it's up to adults to keep them safe.

'Parents should make sure everything on their children's bikes work,' Ozeroff said. 'Parents also should make sure their children are wearing helmets.'

He also encourages adults to explain the rules of the road to their children.

'A bicycle needs to follow the rules of the road just like a car does,' Ozeroff said. Unfortunately, most children don't know those rules - rules that are designed with safety in mind, Ozeroff added.