Some Baby Gates Are Dangerous - Others Are Safer

November 01, 1983
Release Number: 83057

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers of an entrapment and strangulation hazard that exists with accordion style baby gates. These gates have V-shaped openings along the top and diamond-shaped openings in the sides. CPSC has reports of 7 deaths and 17 'near-misses' because of the entrapment hazard with these baby gates. All of the deaths occurred when children's heads became entrapped in V-shaped openings.

In contrast, other styles of baby gates--such as ones with a straight top edge and rigid mesh screen instead of V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings-- do not present the entrapment/strangulation hazard. CPSC has no reports of deaths or near-misses due to head entrapment in these baby gates.

CPSC is working with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association through the American Society for Testing and Materials, to develop a voluntary standard which will help prevent the entrapment/ strangulation hazard with the accordion-style baby gates. Requirements in the voluntary standard to address the entrapment hazard in the V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings have not been finalized.

In the opinion of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the mesh-style baby gates are safer than the accordion-style gates. CPSC is making this comparative safety information available to the public in the interest of promoting greater product safety.

Consumers may call the CPSC's toll free Hotline on 800-638-CPSC to report any injuries with baby gates. A teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is (301) 595-7054.