Early Tuesday morning, while his parents busied themselves with their other children, 5-year-old Sakaria Mohamed fell from the fourth-floor window of his Minneapolis apartment, narrowly missing the concrete below.
The boy landed on grass at the base of the Park Plaza Apartments complex in the 500 block of Humboldt Avenue N., next to the concrete, according to a woman who lives at the complex.
Sakaria was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where his condition improved from critical to serious as the day went on.
Shamsa Haji, a Park Plaza resident, said the boy’s parents were not in the same room from where Sakaria fell. He could not move when he landed and the boy’s father urged the boy’s mother not to lift him up in case the boy had a back injury, Haji said.
Fourth Precinct police Inspector Michael Kjos urged parents to alert their children to the dangers of open windows.
“Do not consider a screen to be a safety net,” he said. “Screens can be compromised very easily. It doesn’t take a lot of force [by a] child leaning against a screen or pushing on a screen.”
Kjos said that every summer “we end up having to deal with multiple incidents where someone fell from a window.”
A state law passed in 2007, Laela’s Law, requires safety screens, guards or fall-prevention devices on new or replacement windows installed above the first story after Jan. 1, 2009, in most multiunit buildings. The law doesn’t apply to single-family homes, duplexes or windows that are more than 24 inches from the floor.
For older buildings, it’s possible for parents to put a nail or some other obstruction in the track of most windows to prevent them from opening more than a few inches.
Kjos said Sakaria fell through a screen, but didn’t know if the screen was deficient.