injuries

Preventing Door and Hinge Injuries

11 July 2022
Posted by: Chelsea

The humble door with its hinges is a surprisingly common source of sometimes serious injury for younger children.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce door and hinge injuries to children.

How Injuries happen

Once your child starts to toddler, you can be sure it won’t be long before they’re reaching up to try and pull things down or push them away, often in the latter case just to see what the effect will be.

Kids are also smart, and it won’t take long for them to work out that you move around by pulling and pushing doors, often including the use of a handle.

Sooner or later, they’re going to start trying to open those same doors, partly to emulate you and partly just out of curiosity to see what’s on the other side.

That’s when a significant number of accidents happen with those delicate little fingers.

Types of accidents – Door and Hinge Injuries

There are two main risks for younger family members:

  • someone (often a sibling) bursting into a room by pushing a door, unaware that immediately behind it is a vulnerable head.
  • fingers getting trapped between the door and the frame, within hinges and sometimes in the lock mechanism.

These types of accidents can result in cuts, bruises and crushing injuries but also more serious fractures and even amputation of fingers.

Reducing the risks

There are some easy things you can do:

  • if possible and practical, remove some doors where your children will be regularly trying to transit and replace them temporarily with curtains. Make sure the curtains are safety approved and do not constitute a hanging or choking risk;
  • replace standard hinges with pressure-spring hinges. These should stop ‘crashing through’ type door opening, thereby protecting your toddler’s head and other body parts if they’re unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time;
  • fix padded foam bands horizontally across doors at the same height as your child’s head;
  • ensure all door edges are protected by vertical foam strips, again to protect heads;
  • there are a variety of lock-safety devices available. They all work on the basis of trying to stop children having their fingers in locks at the time someone tries to close the door;
  • you can fit (or improvise) door stops that won’t allow your door to fully close, thereby meaning no possibility of little fingers getting trapped when they do. If you do so, remember to put them at a height where your child can’t reach and remove or unhook them.

Explain

Most people that have accidentally injured children with doors are understandably distraught.

Sometimes just a few minutes talking to other people in your family, notably older siblings, about the need to be careful with doors and toddlers will in itself help prevent nasty accidents.

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