Stepping up staircase safety prevents child injuries
Almost 100,000 children per year are brought to a hospital with staircase-related injuries, a new study has found.
The study, based on data from emergency rooms nationwide and published recently in the journal Pediatrics, is the first to examine stair injuries among kids (Previous research has focused on the elderly). Its findings are disquieting: Between 1999 and 2008, about 932,000 kids younger than 5 got hurt on stairs—approximately a child every six minutes.
This is in large part because many homes cannot be adequately childproofed: Two-thirds of houses, for example, are designed such that a wall-mounted stair gate can’t be installed at the top of the staircase.
“We have much more that we need to do to make the home environment safer for children,” Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s lead author, told The New York Times. He advised parents of young children to make sure their stair railings are thin enough to wrap their hand around completely, and to always use wall-mounted gates—never the less-secure pressure-mounted gates—at the top of their stairs.
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