Baby Gate Safety


Baby Gates

Baby gates are used at the top and bottom of stairs or in open doorways to prevent toddlers from falling or entering unsafe areas. But some baby gates themselves are dangerous. The Commission warns parents and others who care for children that an entrapment and strangulation hazard exists with accordion-style baby gates that have large V-shaped openings along the top edge and diamond-shaped openings between the slats. CPSC knows of deaths that occurred when children's heads were entrapped in the V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings when they attempted to crawl through or over the gates. Although these hazardous accordion-style baby gates have not been sold since 1985, you may still find them at yard sales or in thrift stores.

If You Will Be Using a Baby Gate

[ ] Choose a gate with a straight top edge and rigid bars or mesh screen, or an accordion-style gate with small V-shapes and diamond-shaped openings. Entrances to V-shapes should be no more than 1-1/2 inches (38 mm) in width to prevent head entrapment.

[ ] Be sure the baby gate is securely anchored in the doorway or stairway it is blocking. Children have pushed gates over and fallen down stairs.

[ ] Gates that are retained with an expanding pressure bar should be installed with this bar on the side away from the child. A pressure bar may be used as a toehold by a child to climb over a gate. Pressure gates are not recommended at the top of stairways. CPSC is aware of a number of incidents where pressure gates have popped out of openings at the top of stairs resulting in children falling down stairs.

Expandable Enclosures

Circular wooden enclosures that expand, accordion-style, can present the same entrapment/strangulation hazards as the accordion-style gates. The Commission knows of deaths that occurred when children caught their necks in the V-shaped openings along the top edge of the enclosure, apparently as they were attempting to climb out. CPSC recommends that you DO NOT USE ACCORDION-STYLE EXPANDABLE ENCLOSURES with V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings.

 


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