Baby gate-related injuries among children in the United States, 1990-2010

Acad Pediatr. May-Jun 2014;14(3):256-61. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2013.12.006. Epub 2014 Feb 13.


Objective: Baby gates are one of the most widely used home safety products to protect children from home hazards. The objective was to describe the epidemiology of baby gate and barrier-associated injuries among children. It was hypothesized that injuries experienced by children ages ≤2 years and those >2 years were significantly different as a result of differences in gate interactions.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted by using nationally representative data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. A total of 1188 actual cases were reviewed and national estimates generated.

Results: An estimated 37,673 children were treated in emergency departments for injuries associated with gates, yielding an average of 1794 cases annually. The incidence of gate-related injuries increased significantly from 3.9 per 100,000 children in 1990 to 12.5 per 100,000 children in 2010 (P < .001). Patients were primarily boys (61.0%) and were <2 years of age (60.4%). Patients <2 years of age were most often injured by falls down stairs (odds ratio 6.72; 95% confidence interval 6.32-7.16) after the collapse of the gate. Patients aged 2 to 6 were most often injured by contact with the gate (odds ratio 2.03; 95% confidence interval 1.95-2.12), resulting in open wounds (55.4%) and soft-tissue injuries (24.2%).

Conclusions: Given the clear dichotomy between injury characteristics of patients aged <2 years and patients aged 2 to 6 years of age, as well as the prevalence of preventable injuries, greater efforts are needed to promote proper usage, ensure safety in product design, and increase awareness of age-related recommendations for use of gates.

Keywords: National Electronic Injury Surveillance System; baby barriers; baby gates; emergency department; falls; injury; stair gates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Equipment / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology