There Once was a Man Hit on the Head By A Falling Baby, Twice!

Today I found out there once was a man was hit on the head by a falling baby… twice!

According to Time Magazine (Miscellany, Oct. 17, 1938), the year of the first event was 1937. Joseph Figlock, a local street sweeper in Detroit, Michigan, was walking down the road when a baby fell from a 4th story window. The baby struck him on the head and shoulders. The tackling toddler was thankfully not killed. However, he and Mr. Figlock were both injured.

The following year, another mother of the year candidate, allowed her 2 year old son David Thomas, to fall from a window. Joseph, doing his job sweeping out an alley, was again struck by the tumbling tyke. Remarkably, once again neither the ankle-bitter nor the newborn nabber were killed.

Joseph must be some catch, both figuratively and literally. Not only can he ensnare small children like a German Shepard at a Frisbee throwing competition, but women seem to toss their offspring at him like rice at a wedding! One thing is for sure, if you lived in Detroit in the 1930s and you threw your baby out with the bathwater, Mr. Joseph Figlock was going to be there to save the day!

Bonus Facts:

  • Domestic cats can fall from any height and will almost always survive: read more about this here
  • According to a study in the Journal Of Pediatrics, approximately 5200 children fall from windows every year.  Approximately 25% of them require hospital admission, while only 5% of all other childhood injuries require a hospital stay.
  • Falls are the leading cause of death by accidental injury among people who are older than 65.
  • The act of throwing someone from a window is termed: defenestration.
  • According to the Geneva-based Aircraft Crashes Record Office, between 1940 and 2008, there have been 157 people who have fallen out of planes during crashes and lived to tell about it. 42 of those occurred at heights over 10,000 feet! One such incident involved a British Tail-gunner who was shot down in 1944 during WWII. He fell over 18,000 feet without a parachute. His fall was broken by pine trees and soft snow. Suffering only a sprained leg, the true test came when he was then captured by the German Gestapo. Apparently the Germans were more impressed by his near death experience than his nationality, because they released him the following May after having given him a certificate testifying to the fact that he had indeed survived the fall.
  • The average health-care cost of a fall injury involving a person 72 or older was $19,440 in 1998 and the direct and indirect costs of fall injuries are expected to reach $43.8 billion a year by 2020.
  • Men are more likely to die from a fall. If you adjust for age, the fall fatality rate in 2004 was 49% higher for men than women.
  • On Friday, September 23, 2011, the NASA satellite UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) came crashing to the ground. NASA estimated that the odds of a person being hit by a piece of debris from the satellite was 1 in 3,200. For your piece of mind, that means the chance of it hitting you was about 1 in 21 trillion. (if you believe the current world census that is)
  • On any clear night of the year, an observer can expect to see 10–12 sporadic meteors per hour. Sporadic meteors can appear from any part of the sky and about 500,000 sporadic meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere every day.
  • The later in the night you look for meteorites, the greater chance you will have of seeing them. This is due to the rotation of the earth as it orbits the sun. At 6 pm, your position on the earth will be at the trailing edge of the Earth’s rotation. Because of this, the meteorite will have to, in effect, “catch up” to the Earth’s position to be seen. As the night progresses, your position on the Earth’s surface slowly changes to the leading edge. This position of the earth will effectually “sweep up” any meteorites in its path.
  • It is estimated that 22,000 tons (20,000 metric tons) of micrometeorite material fall to Earth every year.
  • An object will reach terminal velocity when the downward force of gravity equals the upward force of drag. This causes the net force on the object to be zero, thus no more acceleration.
  • The force of what we currently call gravity is approximately 9.8 meters per second squared, though varies slightly depending on your location on the Earth.
  • Terminal velocity for a skydiver with their parachute closed is approximately 125 mph or about 55 m/s. This will of course depend on the size and shape of the skydiver.
  • Mathematically, as long as you don’t consider buoyancy affects, terminal velocity can be figured out by using the following formula.

    • Vt = terminal velocity,
    • m = mass of the falling object,
    • g = acceleration due to gravity,
    • Cd = drag coefficient,
    • ρ = density of the fluid through which the object is falling, and
    • A = projected area of the object.
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  • Kimberly Delgado

    _”The following year, another mother of the year candidate, allowed her 2 year old son David Thomas, to fall from a window.”_

    Very well put. When my brother was two he fell from the second story apartment we lived in. Miraculously, he wasn’t injured. My mother tells this story like it’s the funniest thing ever because he “landed on his big pot belly” and besides, it was his fault because she’d told him not to go near that window.

    • I answer in a few years, but still … Why was it his fault if he was two? Children at this age understand little. The mother was obliged to follow her son. And what would happen if her son fell from a high floor? Would that be a funny case for her too?

  • Joseph Figlock was my grandfather