Baby gates can injure kids, study finds

Columbus, OH – Every day, injuries related to baby gates send an average of five children 7 and younger to an emergency department for treatment, according to a new study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy.

Examining data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for the period 1999-2010, researchers also found that 60 percent of the estimated 37,673 children treated for baby gate-related injuries were younger than 2. The incidents most often occurred after a child fell down stairs because a baby gate was not closed or had collapsed. Resulting injuries included sprains and strains, as well as traumatic brain injury.

To help reduce the risk of injury, researchers recommend parents and caregivers:

  • Use hardware-mounted baby gates at the top of stairways.
  • Install gates in homes with children between 6 months and 2 years of age.
  • Remove gates when the child turns 2, or if the child learns to open the gate or climb over it. If removing a gate is not possible because of other children in the home, use a gate without notches or gaps that could be used for climbing.

The study appears in the May-June print issue of Academic Pediatrics.