Mom warns parents after 5-year-old spent weeks in coma from window fall

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 06, 2018

SAN DIEGO - As summertime approaches, a California mother wants other parents to know how hazardous windows can be after her own daughter spent three weeks in a coma after a fall two years ago.

Natalie was 5 years old when she spent 23 days in a medically-induced coma after falling from a window of her family's two-story home in San Diego.

Rady Children's Hospital Dr. Seema Shah, who is the director of quality and patient safety, said Natalie's story is common. In the past two years, 72 children were treated for serious injuries at Rady Children's after falling out of windows.

Natalie's mother Valerie Bach said children may not be aware of what can happen when they lean against screens.

"It was a beautiful March day in San Diego and we had the windows open as many San Diegans do. I sent my kids upstairs to get ready for a shower. Within a few minutes, [Natalie] leaned against a screen and fell out headfirst," Bach said.  "I was not in the room when it happened."

Natalie spent 49 days in the hospital recovering from her injuries. It's been two years since and she's doing well, according to Bach, who has become an advocate for window safety.

With the nice weather, San Diegans tend to have their windows open year-round and children may not be aware of what can happen when they lean against a screen.

San Diego has a code that requires windows to be 24 inches from the ground, she said.

"Ours was only 18 inches from the floor," Bach said.

Bach says there are fall prevention devices for windows that aren't up to code. She said devices including locks and bars are available in stores. Most cost less than $10.