Baby Gate-Related Injuries Send Nearly 2,000 Children to Emergency Rooms Each Year

In May 2014, the Academic Pediatrics published a report from the researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The first nationally representative study to examine injuries associated with baby gates, the researchers looked at the number of children treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by baby gates and found that the rate of injury quadrupled from 1990 to 2010.

Of the children injured, 60 percent were younger than two years old and they were most often injured by falls down stairs after a gate collapsed or when it was left open. Injuries caused by these accidents lead to soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, and traumatic brain injuries, said the researchers. Children aged 2-6-years-old were most often injured by contact with the gate itself after climbing on it, which can lead to cuts.

Despite this increase in injuries, the study's lead researcher had this advice for parents and caregivers:

“Baby gates are essential safety devices for parents and caregivers, and they should continue to be used,” explains Lara McKenzie, PhD, the study’s co-author and a principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “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.”

Dr. McKenzie recommends parents think of pressure-mounted gates as products that should only be used as room dividers because those kinds of gates are not designed to withstand much force and will not prevent a fall down stairs. For the top of the stairs, only gates that have hardware, which needs to be screwed into the wall or railing, will be strong enough to prevent a child from falling down the stairs. 

Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., shared this take away from the research with Healthline

“Our study results highlight the need for further advances in gate design to limit children’s ability to climb gates, to prevent gates from collapsing, and to better cushion children when they fall on gates,” McKenzie explained, adding, “It also wouldn't hurt if gates were easier to install.”

The Stair Barrier's stair gate design addresses many of Dr. McKenzie's concerns:

1.       The Stair Barrier does not have a top bar that children can use to hoist themselves over the gate.

2.       The Stair Barrier’s internal vertical struts, horizontal webbing, and strong buckles provide a tight fit and prevent our gates from collapsing.

3.      The Stair Barrier installation is easy. The buckle system is simple to understand and our fabric safety gates do not require two flat surfaces for installation. Our Wall to Banister gates also come with an installation kit specifically designed for our safety gates.

If you are looking for a way to secure a staircase with banisters, we hope you'll take a look at The Stair Barrier Difference page to learn more about our fabric stair gates.