CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (NBC News) – More than 30,000 children have landed in the emergency room after experiencing a baby gate-related injury.
And most could have been prevented.
Jessica Fannon’s 9 month old daughter, Ella, tumbled down 14 stairs of her home.
The baby gate Fannon thought would protect Ella had come loose because it wasn’t made for the top of a stair case.
“I didn’t know there was specific upstairs or downstairs gates. And there are,” Fannon said.
A study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that, between 1990 and 2010, the number of baby gate related injuries nearly quadrupled to an average of 1800 a year.
“We can do a better job to make this product easier to use, easier for parents to install, and where kids won’t be injured when they come in contact with this product,” said Dr. Lara McKenzie of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Even though standards for baby gates are only voluntary and not federally mandated the study’s researchers still strongly recommend using them.
But having the right type in the right place is key.
“Pressure mounted gates are great at the bottom of the stairs or between rooms, but you don’t want to use a pressure mounted gate at the top of the stairs because they’re too easily pushed through,” McKenzie said.
In Ella’s case, a gate properly suited for the bottom of the stairs protected this daughter of a pediatric nurse from serious injury.
“They assessed her, did scans, she was totally fine. But i was very lucky,” admits Fannon.
Using the proper baby gate can minimize the need for luck.
Researchers say gates should be used in homes with children ages six months to two years and that hardware mounted gates should always be used at the top of the stairs.