Parents urged to take safety precautions after three kids fall from apartment buildings

Police are urging parents to take precautions after three young children fell from multi-story apartment buildings this past weekend, leaving one boy seriously injured.

Sgt. Jim Thomson, supervisor of the crimes against children unit, said all three falls appear to have been accidental.

"This is the time of year where kids begin to expand their horizons and feel the freedom of being outside after the winter months," Thomson said. "Unfortunately, as this past weekend illustrated, this time of year increases the chances of children becoming involved in unnecessary accidents."

The most serious injury occurred about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when a 4-year-old boy fell onto a sidewalk from a second-floor apartment balcony in the 9500 block of Solomon Drive.

Thomson said the boy had been climbing on top of a bicycle that was being stored on the balcony when he fell. He suffered multiple skull fractures and remained hospitalized Monday in the pediatric intensive care unit at Cook Children's Medical Center, Thomson said.

About an hour and half earlier, a 3-year-old boy was injured when he fell out of an open third-story apartment window in the 120000 block of Kentmore Lane.

"Some kids were playing hide and seek and I guess he went behind the curtains and didn't realize the windows were open," said Officer Sharron Neal, a police spokeswoman.

Neal said hospital staff told officers that the boy, who was in stable condition Monday, did not have any major or life-threatening injuries as a result of the fall.

A 10-month-old boy also apparently escaped serious injury when he fell through a third-floor balcony railing at an apartment complex in the 6000 block of Oakland Bend Drive about 3 p.m. Saturday. Thomson said Cook's hospital staff were hopeful that the baby might be released Monday.

Safety experts suggest parents use window stops to prevent a window from opening more than 4 inches and install window guards on all second-story or higher windows were young children live or visit.

Thomson said even windows with screens can pose a dangerous threat to a child.

"Most falls occurred with the windows fully opened and the child leaning against the screen," he said.

Thomson said if a window must be open, parents should exercise extra diligence watching the child.

In addition to the falls, Thomson said a 1-year-old boy also remained hospitalized at Cook's Monday for injuries to his chest, liver and ribs that he suffered when he was accidentally backed onto as his father moved their car on Sunday in the 7300 block of South Meadow Drive East.

"Take the extra 10 seconds and walk around and look under your car before you start it, even if you are just moving the vehicle in your own driveway," he urged parents.

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