When parents think about child proofing their homes, they're usually focused on keeping cabinets locked and storing sharp objects or dangerous chemicals out of reach. So when Jessica Hayes of Aurora, Colorado, was spring cleaning recently, she says says that she didn't think of the potential for danger when she pushed her couch out of the way, against the wall and under a window in her third-story apartment.
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While she was shampooing the carpets and her mom was helping out in the kitchen, her 4-year-old son, Dylan, climbed up on the couch to chat with a downstairs neighbor through the window. As he leaned against the flimsy screen, it gave way and he fell three stories, landing on the rock-covered ground below.
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"My mom was cleaning our fridge out and, all of a sudden, I hear her screaming, 'Dylan just went out the window!'" Hayes told KCNC-TV, a CBS News affiliate in Denver.
She ran down the stairs, panicked. "I was terrified," she said. "I didn't know what I was going to see when I got down to the ground floor."
But, instead of the nightmare she was expecting, her preschooler was just standing there, apparently unhurt. According to CBS News, the little boy fell through the window's screen, did two somersaults in the air, and landed on his feet on the gravel.
"I heard a crash and the next thing I know I just saw a blur," neighbor Pat Roush told KCNC. "It was just red and blue" -- the colors of the Superman T-shirt Dylan was wearing.
"I falled," confirmed the boy. "Really, really far."
He spent about 20 hours in the hospital, wearing a neck brace as a precaution, but doctors released him, saying he had barely a scratch on him. He's not even traumatized by the event, though he does caution other kids to "not open windows." His mom, on the other hand, was so shaken up by the even that she's moved out of the third-floor apartment and is living with a relative.
"It's gotten easier since it happened two weeks ago to not blame myself," she told KCNC. "I wish the danger would have crossed by mind, which it didn't." She says she's speaking out now, in the hope that other parents will be more aware of the dangers than she was. She's looking for a new home on the first floor, she told the news station, and says that she feels "beyond lucky" that Dylan survived the 30-plus-foot fall.
"There had to have been angles watching over him," his grandmother, Kelli Hayes, agreed.
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