Prevention of Pediatric Falls from Buildings in Hawaii

Posted on Mar 10, 2015 in All IPCS News

Prevention of Pediatric Falls from Buildings in Hawaii


If-kids-could-floatFalls from windows and lanais continue to be a significant risk for our island’s keiki and the surrounding Western Pacific. We estimate that there are approximately 80 falls per year on Oahu alone. Those 80 falls represent the ones that come to the attention of medical providers or enter the trauma registry. Unfortunately this underestimates the actual number as some families do not seek medical care if the child appears uninjured. The risk is real. In 2011, a 4 year old military child, Evan English fell from a 2nd floor window. Evan’s injuries resulted in traumatic brain injury and despite surgical interventions and life saving measures, he could not be saved. This year we have had several significant injuries including skull fractures and brain injuries. The Keiki Injury Prevention Coalition and the Western Pacific Pediatric Injury Prevention Network are working on developing interventions to prevent these tragic incidents.

Our goals are to:

  1. Reach parents and children with educational tools,
  2. Train our medical providers to educate families on the risks of window falls,
  3. Establish standardized curriculum given to medical professionals and residents in training to educate their patients/families on the risks of window & lanai falls, to encourage the provision of life saving window guards both in our civilian and military populations with a particular focus on ensuring our military families are provided window guards at move in when children ages 1-4 are in the home,
  4. Encourage the use of shrubs below 2nd floor windows, in new buildings recommend placement of 2nd floor windows over grass/dirt/shrubs rather than concrete.
  5. Use our medical facilities to provide handouts on window safety, and
  6. Focus on regional and national efforts through the American Academy of Pediatrics to facilitate a spotlight on this issue

The attached photos represent:

  1. If Kids Could Float-a resource written and illustrated by Becca Cunningham a mother of a child who experienced significant TBI after a window fall. It is a resource available for children on and will be used in our educational tools.
  2. A typical military home on Oahu with 2nd floor windows above concrete. House

Dr. Elizabeth Woods MD, MAJ, US Army