By Stephen Stirling
A 14-month-old child is recovering after a near fatal three-story plunge from her Flushing apartment window last week where her life may have been saved by a rubber ball that broke her fall, authorities said.
Police said Cindy Riveros tumbled out of the third story window of her 134-36 57th Road apartment building July 16, but may have fallen on an old mattress and a pair of rubber balls covering the cement below — which could have meant the difference between life and death for the toddler.
Riveros was transferred to New York Hospital Queens in critical condition with a fractured skull after the fall from the top floor of the apartment building, but the young girl is expected to survive, authorities said. Riveros' parents could not be reached for comment, but the New York Post reported that Riveros was able to leave her bed and walk around briefly before undergoing head surgery to determine the extent of her injuries.
Neighbors told the Post they were shocked by the incident, which occurred in a generally quiet neighborhood southeast of downtown Flushing.
Police said they determined that Riveros' fall was an accident, but the city Department of Health and city Administration for Children's Services has opened its own investigation into why there were no window bars on the upper floors of the apartment building.
Under state law, a landlord is required to ask tenants if they have young children staying in their apartments and, if so, is then must install the bars as a protective measure at the request of the adult occupants. The Post reported that Riveros' father had asked his landlord to install window bars in his apartment.
An ACS representative confirmed the investigation, but declined to comment further before the investigation was completed. The building's listed owner, John Cervoni, could not be reached for comment.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.