Child injury attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report on a troubling statistic about ever-popular baby gates. New studies show that nearly 2,000 children are treated in emergency rooms in the United States every year due to these gates.
The new study was conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which focused its data on children under six-years-old who were injured from gate-related injuries. Baby gates are commonly used to keep small children safe, but the gates themselves can be hazardous.
Fortunately, most injuries did not require hospitalization, but there were several thousand fractures and brain injuries. The Executive Director at nonprofit advocacy group Kids in Danger stated that the gates oftentimes do not hold weight properly, causing it to fall over.
Currently, there are no federal safety regulations for baby gate design. This surprises many people (and should!) because these products can be found in nearly every home with children in it. Safety standards are only voluntary, so manufacturers can choose not to include various features like wall installation hardware.
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Child safety advocates note that many injuries may be caused by parents who use the wrong type of gate. Some products come with hardware that requires installation into a wall; this is the only type of gate that should be used at the top of a staircase. Pressure-mounted gates are better used to separate rooms or at the bottom of stairs, but they should be regularly checked for a secure fit, so that what is meant to protect children does not accidentally harm them.
Most of the children injured by these gates were boys over the age of two, and about 16% of all injured children suffered concussions. Experts believe that injuries related to baby gates are on the rise because parents are using them more often – which is a good thing, if they are installed and maintained properly.
And they are on the rise: between 1990 and 2010, the number of children injured by baby gates quadrupled. One of the study authors noted that the public needs to do a better job determining where the gates are installed, and ensuring they fit securely.
A tip from the experts: use gates in homes with children aged six months to two years, make sure that all hardware-mounted gates are used at the top of the stairs, and pressure-mounted gates at the bottom or between rooms.
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If your child was seriously injured by a defective or poorly designed product, contact our firm immediately. We can help you get the compensation you need for any medical bills, continued care, lost wages, and emotional distress. You need to focus on getting your child healthy and back on track, let us take care of the rest.
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