Adding a baby gate to the top of a tall stairway is one of the first steps many new parents take to “child-proof” their homes. But new research shows the gates themselves can lead to accidents, especially if they’re installed incorrectly or used in the wrong locations. The Associated Press reports that 1,800 children a year visit emergency rooms in the U.S. due to baby gate incidents, and that there are no federal standards for the construction or safety of the devices.
The study, conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, looked at data on children up to age 6, and covers hospital records going back to 1990. The report finds that gate-related injuries were different for different age groups, and that they most commonly involve boys.
Patients <2 years of age were most often injured by falls down stairs (odds ratio 6.72; 95% confidence interval 6.32–7.16) after the collapse of the gate. Patients aged 2 to 6 were most often injured by contact with the gate (odds ratio 2.03; 95% confidence interval 1.95–2.12), resulting in open wounds (55.4%) and soft-tissue injuries (24.2%).
The study was published in the journal Academic Pediatrics.