Doors – The Problem
You cannot build a house without doors.
Doors are heavy and have a tendency to close (sometimes quite quickly too!)
Babies and young children like to put their little hands in the gaps between doors and the door frames. They also like to put their little hands near door hinges.
The consequence of a baby or toddler placing their hand in those gaps at the same time as the door closes is that they are likely to suffer a rather nasty accident and end up requiring urgent medical attention – I know this is a fact because my own little sister has part of her ring finger missing where it got trapped in a door when she was a toddler – naughty mummy!
Injuries to little fingers are amongst the most common types of accidents in the home, yet there are some very cheap products available to reduce (if not remove entirely) the risk of such accidents.
There are very goods reasons why all nurseries and reputable child play centres have finger-protection devices fitted to all of their doors.
The dangers of trapped fingers is something that all parents ought to take measures to guard against. However, for those parents with multiple children (whether twins, triplet or just chidden of different ages), the dangers are infinitely greater. Whilst most adults can reasonably be expected to close doors in a careful manner, such expectations cannot sensibly be applied to young children. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to explain the dangers of trapped fingers to a 3 year old, s/he will continue to slam the doors and, if baby is close behind, its only a matter of time before a nasty accident occurs.
In 2002, an estimated 34,100 people attended hospital due to door-related finger injuries – and the vast majority were young children.
The Simple Solutions
I say solutions, rather than solution, because most people forget that that there are 2 dangerous parts to a door. We all know about the risk of fingers getting caught between the closing edge of the door and the doorframe, but many of use forget that the hinge area of a door can be as dangerous (if not more dangerous) than the closing edge.
Fortunately, there are dozens of door safety products on the market today. However, some of the products are next to useless – unless you are happy to scratch all of the paintwork from your nice interior doors and doorframes!?
So, there are broadly 2 types of door safety products:
(1) Door Edge Guards
Door Edge Guards are effectively plastic or foam bumpers that fit easily around the edge of the door. If someone tries to close the door whilst your child’s fingers are in the danger zone, the guard prevents it from closing completely and stops your child’s fingers from being squashed in the process.
These items are very cheap (£2-£5 or $4-$6).
Of course, you will one for each of the doors in your house so it might work out cheaper to buy a multi-pack.
The guards generally come in white or animal character colours.
I have tried both the foam door guards and plastic door guards – they both work well, but I prefer the foam ones for the simple reason that they don’t scratch the paintwork on the door like the plastic ones do.
The best door edge guards include:
- Baby Dan Finger Safes (see image above) (UK)
- Bundle Monster Animal Cushions (UK)
- Bundle Monster Animal Cushions (USA)
- Safety First Finger Pinch Guards (USA)
(2) Door Hinge Guards
If you visit a nursery or child care centre, you will inevitable see door hinge guards fitted. Injuries caused by little fingers getting trapped in the gap between the hinge side of the door and the door frame can be just as serious. Small children are totally oblivious to these dangers and seemingly have a magnet stuck their fingers that draws them in to this danger zone whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Fortunately, there are products available to guard against this risk. The door hinge guards fitted to nursery doors are probably going to be heavy duty commercial ones and, therefore, quite expensive and difficult to fit.
However, there are domestic hinge guards available on the market that are easier to fit and will not break the bank. For example, the Finger Clear Door Edge Guard is fitted with adhesive strip so there is no need to put dozens of holes into the door.
The best door hinge guards include: