Child Safety Gates

Follow these safety guidelines for child safety gates before you buy a new or used one. Protect your child from the dangers of certain baby safety gates.

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child safety gates
Entrapment Hazards
An entrapment and strangulation hazard exists with accordion-style child safety gates manufactured prior to February 1985. These gates have V-shaped openings along the top edge and diamond-shaped openings in the sides that are large enough to entrap a child's head. There are 9 known deaths and at least 25 "near-misses" because of the entrapment hazard of these gates. Most of the deaths occurred when children's heads became entrapped in the V-shaped openings.

In contrast, other styles of baby gates--such as a straight top edge and rigid mesh screen, or openings too small for a child's head to enter--do not present the entrapment/ strangulation hazard.

Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission worked with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to develop an ASTM (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) voluntary standard to address the entrapment/strangulation hazard. The standard restricts the width of V-shaped openings in the top edge of a gate to no more than 1.5 inches and limits the diamond-shaped openings to a size that prevents entry of the head of a 6 month old child. Gates that meet the requirements in the ASTM voluntary standard are safer than the old accordion-style gates. There have been no reports of deaths or near misses due to head entrapment in these newer gates.

Caregivers who have the old gates with large V- or diamond- shaped openings should discontinue their use.

Of course, in order to prevent falls when using any type of baby gates, care should be taken to be sure they're securely latched and that children do not attempt to climb on them.

And if you have one of these baby gates at home, get rid of it immediately. Be sure not to give it to a friend or neighbor.


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