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Baby gates may be dangerous for young children

A child stands behind a baby gate in this undated file photo. (Nationwide Children's Hospital)
May 5, 2014 10:51:22 AM PDT
A recently published study reveals that the number of child injuries seen in emergency rooms related to baby gates have quadrupled in the past two decades.

Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital found the number of children involved in these accidents went from 3.9 per 100,000 children in 1990 to 12.5 per 100,000 children in 2010.

The study, published in Academic Pediatrics, revealed that emergency rooms treated an average of 1,794 injuries related to baby gates for children under 7 years old every year. About 60 percent of children injured were younger than 2.

Many fell down stairs after a gate collapsed or was left open. Those from 2-to-6 years old were injured by climbing on the gate.

Lara McKenzie, the study's co-author, said parents should use pressure-mounted gates as room dividers or at the bottom of stairs. For the top of the stairs, she recommends using gates with hardware that needs to be screwed into a wall or railing.

"Baby gates are essential safety devices for parents and caregivers, and they should continue to be used," McKenzie said. "It is important, however, to make sure you are using a gate that meets the voluntary safety standards and is right type of gate for where you are planning to use it."

Other tips for baby gates include removing gates after a child turns 2 and avoiding gates with notches or gaps that can be used for climbing.


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