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Two Farmington children received injuries after falling from windows within days of each other; both are recovering

Toddlers are quick, and they're into everything. Unfortunately, sometimes that leads to accidents that leave children injured.

However, it's not common for the same type of accident to happen twice in one week, particularly when that accident involves falling out of a window.

That's what happened April 26, and again on May 1, when two children fell out of windows at Farmington homes and reacted in very different ways. Both children have since received medical care and are on the way to recovery, but their parents are left to second-guess what could have been done differently.

Farmington fire chief Tim Pietsch said the department usually gets a report of a child falling through a window every year. Getting two of them is unusual, much less having both happen within a week's span, he said.

More often than not, he said, these types of accident involve toddlers who do not understand the risk involved in playing near open windows. He suggests parents become more aware of the potential danger and stay close to young children when accessible windows are open.

"When you think of a 16-month-old, or a 2-year-old, they're into everything. You turn around and they're gone. They're playing. They're climbing. Maybe just putting their hands up on the screen is all it takes. For a kid that age, it only takes a second for those things to happen," Pietsch said.

In both cases, a toddler pushed on the screen of a window, causing the screen to pop out and the child to fall through the window.

The first fall

The first incident occurred April 26 at the home of Mike and Mariah Calverley. Their 7-year-old child was outside, their 9-year-old opened a window to tell the younger sibling to come in. Mike Calverley was just seven feet from the window, and the 9-year-old was standing right next to it when 2-year-old Evelyn crawled up, put her hands on the screen and fell to the ground outside.

Mariah was not home at the time of the accident, but Mike called 911. Farmington Fire/Rescue captain Chris Matek was first to arrive. At the time, Mariah Calverley said, Evelyn seemed fine. She's a bit shy and there were a bunch of strangers in her home, so she was quiet. She was checked over by EMTs, but since she did not exhibit any signs of trauma, paramedics told Mike the family could just take her to a hospital instead of having her transported in an ambulance.

The Calverleys took Evelyn to Children's Hospital, but she still wasn't exhibiting signs of serious injury. She was responsive and talking fine, so she was sent home. Two days later, though, she started vomiting. They took Evelyn back to Children's Hospital. Results of a brain scan showed two distinct fractures to the child's skull.

Evelyn went into emergency surgery. While in surgery, doctors found that what appeared to be two fractures was actually one large one that went from one side of her skull to the other, and that she had bleeding on her brain.

The surgery was successful, Mariah said.

"Now she's out of the hospital, she's running around and she's doing great," Mariah said Monday.

After seeing a neurologist, the Calverleys learned that bleeding on the brain can surface anywhere from 48 to 72 hours after an injury such as Evelyn's.

"It just goes to show that what may look OK sometimes isn't OK, and it can happen in an instant. My husband was seven feet away. It doesn't matter how attentive you are. It just happens so fast," she said.

The second fall

According to Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist, the May 1 accident occurred around 6:30 p.m. at a home on the 19600 block of Evensong Avenue. Farmington police officers Dan Miller and Jason Amundson were the first to arrive at the home.

When they arrived, the officers found the child inside the home with his parents. In talking with the boy's parents, officers learned that the child had been fallen through an open window on the home's second floor. The window was low to the floor, and the screen was in. The child pushed on the screen, causing the screen to pop out. The child's momentum carried him out the window. The boy landed on a concrete patio.

The child was conscious and breathing, though his parents told medics the boy was lethargic. He was put onto a backboard and transported by ambulance to a field on 195th Street and Pilot Knob Road.

The boy was then airlifted to Regions hospital, which is standard procedure when there may be a neck or back injury. Pietsch said the child's injuries caused enough concern that medics felt the boy should be transported via helicopter.

"If they're lethargic, there's a reason behind it," Pietsch said. "Generally kids are pretty resilient. If they fall out and land on grass, a lot of times they don't suffer any serious consequences. I think in the case of the one (May 1), when you fall on concrete, that's pretty unforgiving territory there."

The boy's mother did not wish to be identified, but she told the Independent her son is "doing fine, and the family is receiving support."

The mother also wished to thank people for their thoughts and prayers.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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