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April 25, 2019

Bronx family must plan funeral rather than birthday for toddler who plunged from fourth-story window

February 11, 2019
Helena Flores, 4, died after falling from a fourth-floor window into a parking lot behind a building at 685 E. 140th St. in the Bronx on Saturday, police said. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

Four-year-old Helena Flores was autistic, so her caring parents made sure to child-proof their home.

The one thing they overlooked — an open window high enough that it seemed out of reach — was deadly to the Bronx toddler.

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Just before 5 p.m. Saturday, Helena climbed up to the window, which was cracked open two inches so her bedroom wouldn’t get too hot.

Somehow, Helena opened it further — and fell from her fourth-floor apartment to the pavement below.

On Sunday, Helena’s parents had planned a Peppa Pig-themed birthday party in the family’s home on E. 140th St. near Cypress Ave. in Mott Haven. Their daughter turned four years old last Tuesday.

Instead, they spent the day grieving.

“She was loved and was safe. My whole home is childproofed because Helena’s autistic,” said Hilda Flores, the girl’s mother. “We just overlooked one small detail.”

Helena Flores
Helena Flores (Obtained by New York Daily News)

Flores said the tiny kids’ bedroom contains two radiators — so she often left the window open to keep the space from getting too hot.

Flores said she was asleep when her daughter fell, and that her sister and niece were on babysitting duty.

“I am currently experiencing back pain, I am currently on muscle relaxers trying to deal with the pain,” said Flores. “I went to take a nap and I woke up when my sister ran in the room and asked if Helena was with me.”

Flores said she and her sister frantically searched the tiny apartment and quickly discovered the bedroom window was wide open and Helena’s body was sprawled below.

“We was told she had died on impact,” said Flores. “Although no amount of words could console my family and I, knowing she didn’t suffer gives an inch of peace.”

Flores said the family cut a cake on Helena’s birthday Tuesday. She was proud that Helena blew out her candles unassisted.

“When you have an autistic child, things like that are big,” she said.

Building located at 685E 140th Street in the Bronx. 4-year-old Helena Flores died after she toppled out of a fourth-floor window into a parking lot behind the building, police said.
Building located at 685E 140th Street in the Bronx. 4-year-old Helena Flores died after she toppled out of a fourth-floor window into a parking lot behind the building, police said. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

Flores said her husband went to Home Depot on Sunday afternoon to get childproofing equipment for the window from which Helena fell.

“We were one of those parents that would say, ‘No, not me. Not my kid,’” said Flores. “We were extra careful in our household. One mistake changed all of this in a split second.”

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The family was waiting to hear from the hospital to begin arranging Helena’s funeral .

“Helena was very smart, very bright,” Flores said. “She had high functioning autism, but she was a bright, bright little girl. She was very athletic, very into gymnastics. She was always climbing and jumping.”

Helena had one sister and three brothers, Flores said.

“It was truly a small mistake that caused a tragedy, a mistake that anyone could have overlooked,” said Flores. “Hold onto your children because accidents like this can happen to anyone at any moment.”

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