Local News

Parents of Injured Child Warn of Open Window Dangers

Posted March 20, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— A 20-month-old boy has opened his eyes after 12 days of unconsciousness. Nicholas Graf fell from a second-story bedroom window nearly two weeks ago and fractured his skull. Now the child's parents want to keep the same thing from happening to your family.

"Right now he's still in ICU, still on the ventilator," says Christopher Graf.

Graf and his wife have been taking turns coming toWakeMedto stay with their youngest child.

"My wife, she just wanted to air out the house that Friday. It was about 75, 76 degrees outside," says Graf of the day his son, Nicholas, climbed on a bed next to an open window and pushed on the screen. The screen gave way, and the toddler tumbled out after it.

The Grafs remember reading about other child safety issues in the home: household poisons, stairways and burners. They say no one warned them of the dangers of open screen windows.

"I'm sure it's addressed out there in some areas, but people overlook their windows. Most homes will have 15 or 20 windows, yet we take them for granted. They're just windows. Nothing ever happens," says Graf.

By way of experience, the Grafs have their own list of safety tips for children and windows.

"We had a bed right up against the window sill. We now realize that isn't a good idea," he says.

Most screens need very little force to pop out. It is best to have windows that open from the top.

Windows are a magnet for a curious child.

"That's one of the things I try to impress on anyone I run into that has small children that I know of," says Graf.

A WakeMed spokesperson says the hospital has had 18 similar cases since 1997; nine of those have happened in the past year.