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Fewer children are falling out of windows than ever, Chicago hospital says

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Lurie Children's Hospital said there's been a decrease in the amount of accidents involving kids falling out of windows. (WLS)

Lurie Children's Hospital said there's been a decrease in the amount of accidents involving kids falling out of windows.

Brian Conaghan's tiny green cast is a reminder of a day almost 16 years ago that he does not remember. But his mother Judy does; she'll never forget it.

"HE was playing on a little portable bed we had for a sleepover and he was bouncing on it. He must have lost his balance and fallen on the screen, which popped out with his weight and he went right through it," Judi Conaghan recalled.

Brian fell from a second floor window onto the concrete driveway. He was only 2-year-old at the time. He spent days in the hospital with a broken leg and several other severe injuries.

"The doctor said because of his age the bones are somewhat malleable, so he was lucky he wasn't older, he might not have survived," Judi said.

Brian graduated from high school this week, where he played two varsity sports.

"I feel so lucky every day, being able to play sports, do what I love doing," he said.

Brian's fall was one of many in the Chicago area during the early 2000's. In 2001 the city was facing a public health crisis when 30 children under the age of 5 fell out of a window.

"It crosses all socioeconomic boundaries, it's just because people aren't aware of the problem," said Dr. Karen Sheehan, Lurie Children's Hospital.

Following the summer of 2001, Sheehan took action with a public awareness campaign called "Stop the Falls." It educates people to move furniture away from windows, never open windows more than four inches, and to open windows from the top down. Devices such as stoppers and window guards help too. Her efforts have paid off.

"We've seen from 2001 to 2016 that we decreased window falls by 50 percent in the city, which is pretty remarkable," she said.

Sheehan said in the past eight years, there has been not one death caused by children falling out of windows.
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