There’s an old saying about curiosity and cats. But then, cats also always land on their feet and have 9 Lives. So how about other curious creatures… like your infants and toddlers? Today’s case-in-point is baby gate injuries. A new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital looked at injuries associated with baby gates over a 20 year period. The injuries quadrupled in number, with 5 kids an hour having an associated injury by the end of the study. More than 60% were younger than 2 years of age. Most injuries occurred from falls down stairs after a gate collapsed or was left open. Bumps and bruises accounted for a third of injuries, while cuts accounted for, also, about a third of the injuries. But the more serious injury type, the traumatic brain injuries which include concussions and brain bleeds, were seen in 16%.
The authors gave several suggestions for parents and grandparents.
- Use hardware-mounted gates (this means they should be fastened into the walls). The pressure-mounted ones, which are temporary, and can be moved, are much easier for a child to dislodge, as they fall or lean against them, or later try to climb.
- Gates can be more safely used for kids until they can climb on the gate. For some kids that may be before 18 months. Once they can climb, you will need to investigate other restraints. Also, look at the gate for notches or gaps where the child could try to place a foot or hand, not only to try to climb, but also to get into a position where the child’s weight would then lean against the gate, causing a fall.
So keep your little curious creature safe, since he or she doesn’t have 9 lives, and may not always land on those sweet little wobbly legs. Give that kid a hug, while you double check that baby gate.