According to a recent study, from the journal, American Pediatrics, baby gates aren’t as safe as you think. Apparently 2,000 children in the United States under age six are treated in the emergency room each year from baby gate related injuries. That is an average of about five children per day. The injuries have quadrupled in the last 20 years.
Most of the injuries were caused by falls down stairs after a gate was left open or collapsed. Climbing on gates resulted in cuts, which was the most common injury for children aged two to six. While a few children suffered traumatic brain injuries, the most comment type of gate-related injuries were merely bumps and bruises.
Over 60% of the children taken in for injuries are boys, and the more serious injuries happen to those under the age of two.
There are precautions parents and caregivers can take to prevent injury:
- Use bolted or hardware-mounted gates instead of pressure-mounted gates, especially at the top of stairways.
- Once the child reaches two years old, or has the ability to open or climb the gate, remove it.
- If you can’t remove a gate because of other children in the home, use a gate without notches or gaps that could be used for climbing.
- Avoid accordion-style gates without a top filler bar.
- Use safety gates that are no less than 22 inches tall and have no more than three inches between the floor and the bottom of the gate.
- Choose a gate certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. A JPMA sticker can be found on the packaging or frame of the product.
- Never leave a baby or toddler unattended, no matter how safe a product claims to be.
If you take all the necessary precautions and for some reason you child is still injured by your baby gate, it’s possible you might have a product liability claim on your hands. You should call a personal injury attorney to explore your rights.