Stair gates to prevent falls in children (product)

Conclusion: No / inconclusive evidence found to make an evidence statement; effect unknown

There is very little evidence available in relation to the effectiveness of stair gates as products. However, the ability of stair gates to restrict children’s access to hazardous situations, such as stairs or areas where cooking is taking place, needs to be acknowledged.

Recommendations (for research & practice)

Suggestions for future research:
There is no evidence found on the effectiveness of stair gates. Research is needed in this area.

Suggestions for practice:
When stair gates are recommended to parents by professionals, stair gates complying with the standard EN 1930:200 should be recommended.

Parents needs advice on the type of stair gate to select and use:

  • Accordion-style child safety gates should not be used, instead a gate with a straight top edge and rigid bars or mesh screen is recommended.
  • A pressure gate should not be used at the top of the stairs, since this type of gate is not bolted to the wall. There is a higher risk of the gate becoming loose and tipping over when a child pushes against it, causing the child to fall down the stairs.
  • A child safety gate should be securely anchored in the doorway or stairway.
  • Installation instructions need to be carefully followed to ensure proper fit (if installed too high from the floor a child can get trapped in the space beneath).

    Review Date: 20/09/2011
    Version: 1.0
    Status: Publish

    Articles (reviews) and reports were included that were published between 1990 and 2010, in English and Dutch. The outcomes of the study were reviewed by the Dutch Consumer Safety Institute.

Strategy: An online literature search was performed by a researcher of the Consumer Safety Institute and after this a more thorough search was performed by the documentation centre of CSI (Catalog CenV, Pubmed, Injury lit, Google, Websites, 'Grey' literature). Results of each search were compared on differences and potential missed studies were added. First the titles and then abstracts were scanned in order to include relevant studies. In the case of insufficient information obtained from abstracts the full text articles were obtained. Relevant articles were scrutinized and background documents were created. In addition, relevant references of included articles were checked on new and relevant articles (i.e., snowball search).

The outcomes of the study were reviewed by an expert in the field of child safety in the spring of 2011.

Background documents

Prevention of unintentional childhood injuries (version 1.0)
Patricia G. Schnitzer (2006)

Consumer rights for child safety products : European Child Safety Alliance, European Consumer Safety Association : final report (version 1.2)