As the temperatures continue to get warmer and more people decide to open up their windows, one local lawmaker is looking to make some changes to the public housing department in the state to help keep kids stay safer this summer.
"If we can prevent one kid from being hurt it is well worth it," said State Rep. John Scibak.
Scibak is proposing a bill that would establish a Window Falls Prevention Program that would target residents living in public housing.
"At this point the bill has been filed we are waiting for a public hearing on the bill," said Scibak.
Scibak says the bill has three goals: To provide education to the public about the dangers of children 6 and under falling from windows, to create a census of all public housing tenants to determine how many kids 6 and under are living there and to call for the purchase and installation of the window safety guards.
"It's a simple solution to a real tragic problem," said Scibak.
Nationwide, almost 5,000 children are treated in emergency rooms after falling out of windows each year.
"We see a few falls that are around this area especially in the early months as people are opening windows and enjoying the outside," said Mandi Summers the Safe Kids Coalition Co-Coordinator at Baystate Children's Hospital.
Since 2007 doctors at Baystate have treated 15 kids for that reason. And, back in 2009 a 2 1/2-year-old boy died after falling from a third story window.
"You may think that is something your child will never do, will never go near the window and fall out, but it does happen," said Summers.
Education and window guard distribution programs in Boston and New York City have resulted in a 96 percent reduction of incidence of window falls over the last decade. But, unlike in New York City where window guards are required by law, here in Massachusetts they are just recommended.
"It makes no sense this is an easily preventable situation," said Scibak.
Each window safety guard costs between $30 and $50.
And, firefighters said that though some concern has been mentioned about their ability to get into a room as a result of the guards, that it is not an issue. Fire officials said they can easily take down guards like the one shown at this morning's announcement in case of emergency.
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