Thomas Cunningham turned 4 years old in a coma after falling out a window.
"To look my daughter in the eyes and tell her, 'I don't know if your brother's going to live,' it's not something you want to have to do," said his mother, Becca Cunningham.
She said Thomas was reaching for the window-blind cord, which she and her husband had tucked safely out of reach.
"He fell 15 feet, landed on his head on concrete," Cunningham said.
Thomas spent five weeks in the hospital and had a year of outpatient treatment.
Last year, at age seven, he threw out the first pitch at a Mariner's game. His mom works to warn other parents.
“He's recovered beautifully, but no one completely recovers from a brain injury," Becca Cunningham said.
In our region, without much air-conditioning, window falls are all too common.
Last year doctors at Harborview Medical Center treated 13 children who fell from windows.
So far in May 2015, they've already seen five.
Public health officials said an average of 150 children fall out of windows in Washington each year.
"This is not a supervision problem," said Dr. Beth Ebel of Harborview's Injury Prevention and Research Center. "I see parents standing right there, the kid is in front of them, in a fraction of a second the fall occurs."
Ebel said window screens provide a false sense of security. "It suckers you into thinking that everything is fine," she said.
Screens don't hold a child's weight.
Options to keep windows from opening more than four inches include window stops and window guards.
Beginning May 21, five fire stations in King County are providing free window stops, while supplies last:
- Snoqualmie Fire Department, 37600 SE Snoqualmie Parkway
- Maple Valley Fire at Fred Meyer, 26520 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Road SE
- Shoreline Fire Headquarters, 17525 Aurora Avenue North
- Valley Regional Fire Authority Headquarters, 1101 D St. NE
- Kent Fire Department, 24611 116 Ave SE