Advertisement

Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 26–33 | Cite as

Childhood injuries and deaths due to falls from windows

  • Kimberly E. StoneEmail author
  • Bruce P. Lanphear
  • Wendy J. Pomerantz
  • Jane Khoury
Special Feature: Urban Home Environment and Health Original Articles: Housing and Health

Abstract

Background

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children, and falls are the most common type of unintentional injury in the US. The incidence of falls from windows, a common cause of death in urban areas, has not been described outside major cities such as New York and Chicago, and rates in urban and suburban areas have not been compared.

Objective

To estimate the incidence and identify the population at risk for falls from windows among children in Hamilton County, Ohio.

Design

Retrospective case series identified using Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CHMC) Trauma Registry.

Setting

Hamilton County, Ohio, which has urban and nonurban areas.

Participants

Children less than 15 years old residing in Hamilton County, Ohio, presenting to CHMC in Cincinnati, Ohio, after a fall from a window between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 1997.

Outcome Measure

Annual incidence by age, race, gender, and residence of those who fell from windows.

Results

Over the 7-year study period, 86 (6.3%) of 1,363 falls were from windows. The mortality rate for falls from windows was 4.7%, compared to 0.07% for all other falls presenting to CHMC (P<.0001). Children 0–4 years old had a higher rate of falls than children aged 5–14 (14.6/100,000 vs. 2.0/100,000) (P<.0001). Males were twice as likely to fall as females (P<.016), and black children were three times more likely to fall than non-black children (P<.002). The incidence of falls in the city of Cincinnati was four times that of the non-urban area (P<.0002).

Conclusions

Injuries from falls from windows are a public health problem in Hamilton County, Ohio, especially for young, urban children.

Key words

Childhood Injury Injury Prevention Urban Trauma Window Falls 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Rivara FP, Grossman DC. Prevention of traumatic deaths to children in the United States: how far have we come and where do we need to go?Pediatrics. 1996;97:791–797.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hazinski M, Fancescutti LH, Lapidus GD, Micik S, Rivara FP. Pediatric injury prevention.Ann Emerg Med. 1993;22:456–467.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rivara FP, Grossman DC, Cummings P. Injury prevention: first of two parts.N Engl J Med. 1997;337:543–548.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rivara FP, Grossman DC, Cummings P. Injury prevention: second of two parts.N Engl J Med. 1997;337:613–618.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Garrettson LK, Gallagher SS. Falls in children and youth.Pediatr Clin North Am. 1985; 32:153–162.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rivara FP, Alexander B, Johnston B, Soderberg R. Population-based study of fall injuries in children and adolescents resulting in hospitalization or death.Pediatrics. 1993;92: 61–63.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.Mortality Statistics. Atlanta, GA: CDC; 1993–1995.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hamilton County General Health District Division of Community Health Information Services.Hamilton County Injury Surveillance Report. Hamilton County General Health District; 1994–1996.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bergner L, Mayer S, Harris D. Falls from heights: a childhood epidemic in an urban area.Am J Public Health. 1971;61:90–96.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sieben RL, Leavitt JD, French JH. Falls as childhood accidents: an increasing urban risk.Pediatrics. 1971;47:886–892.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Spiegel CN, Lindaman FC. Children Can't Fly: a program to prevent childhood morbidity and mortality from window falls.Am J Public Health. 1977;67:1143–1146.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Smith MD, Burrington JD, Woolf AD. Injuries in children sustained in free falls: an analysis of 66 cases.J Trauma. 1975;15:987–991.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Meller JL, Shermeta DW. falls in urban children: a problem revisited.Am J Dis Child. 1987;141:1271–1275.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mosenthal AC, Livingston DH, Elcavage J, Merritt S, Stucker S. Falls: epidemiology and strategies for prevention.J Trauma. 1995;38:753–756.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lehman D, Schonfeld N. Falls from heights: a problem not just in the northeast.Pediatrics. 1993;92:121–124.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Barlow B, Niemirska M, Gandhi RP, Leblanc W. Ten years of experience with falls from a height in children.J Pediatr Surg. 1983;18:509–511.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Musemeche CA, Barthel M, Cosentino C, Reynolds M. Pediatric falls from heights.J Trauma. 1991;31:1347–1349.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    US Department of Human Services.International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, Washington, DC: US Department of Human Services; 1980. DHHS publication 80-1260.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bureau of Census.Census of Population and Housing: 1990. Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce; 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York academy of medicine 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly E. Stone
    • 2
    Email author
  • Bruce P. Lanphear
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wendy J. Pomerantz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jane Khoury
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Children's Hospital Medical CenterUSA
  2. 2.University of CincinnatiCincinnati
  3. 3.Department of General and Community PediatricsCincinnati

Personalised recommendations