Doors, hinges and jammed finger injuries
Children under five are particularly prone to jammed finger injuries.
When children get their fingers jammed in doors and hinges, they can end up with crushed, fractured and even amputated fingers.
The hinge side of the door often causes the worst injuries, especially for children aged 1-2 years. Older children tend to hurt themselves more often in the opening or handle side of the door.
Jammed finger injuries often involve another person, especially another child - for example, a child playing with an older sibling. The children try to close the door on each other, and one of them ends up with a finger jammed in the door.
Finger protection strips and door guards
More children are injured by the hinge side of the door than the handle side.
Finger protection strips can help to prevent these injuries. They're long flexible strips that you can install along the length of a door's hinge side. They stop children from putting their fingers in the hinge side.
Many finger protection strips don't affect the appearance of your home, are easily installed and don't change the way your doors work. You can find out about these products at child safety centres at children's hospitals or your local hardware shop.
You can also ask about putting finger protection strips in place at your child's kindergarten, child care centre or school and classroom.
To prevent finger jams on the handle side of the door, you can use simple and cheap door guards. These are U-shaped, soft, flexible pieces of foam that clip onto the top or side edge of the door and stop it from fully closing.
More ways to prevent jammed finger injuries from doors and hinges
Here are more ideas to help stop little fingers and hands getting jammed in doors and other places.
- Check that your child's hands are well out of the way before opening and closing doors, including car doors.
- Check that your child's fingers aren't in the way before closing windows in the car.
- Teach your child not to slam doors, and not to play around them.
- Teach your child to keep her fingers away from the hinge side of doors.
- Drape a towel over the top of doors to keep them ajar.
- Place a hook-and-eye latch high on doors, and/or a wedge under doors to stop them closing on their own.
- Use doorstops to hold doors open and prevent them from slamming shut. Doorstops and weighted closing systems help stop doors from slamming suddenly.
- Install slow-release rather than spring-operated door closers to prevent doors slamming.