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Cupboards, doors, door hinges and the hinge side of doors can all hurt children’s fingers. Your child’s fingers could also get caught between moving parts of folding equipment such as cots, high chairs, prams and strollers. Here are tips to help your child avoid a jammed finger.
Child opening front door iStockphoto.com/Kathye Killer
 

About injuries from doors and hinges

Children under five are particularly prone to jammed finger injuries, with one-year-olds the most likely to hurt themselves. 

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

More children are injured by the hinge side of the door than the handle side. Finger protection strips help prevent this injury by stopping children from putting their fingers in the hinge side of a door.

These strips don’t affect the appearance of your home, are easily installed and don’t alter the function of your doors. There are two sizes available:

  • small: 200 mm wide, for doors that open 90 degrees
  • large: 250 mm wide, for doors that open 180 degrees.

You can also ask about putting them in place at your child’s kindergarten, child care centre or school and classroom.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

Protect

  • Protect your child’s fingers by using a door guard. You can find out about these at child safety centres at children’s hospitals and your local hardware shop.
  • 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.
  • Round the edge of doors.
  • Place a hook-and-eye latch high on doors, and/or a wedge under doors to stop them closing.
  • Drape a towel over the top of doors to keep them ajar.
  • Use a semi-circular foam mould to help prevent finger jams on the handle side of the door. This cheap guard is a U-shaped, soft, flexible piece of foam that clips onto the edge of the door and stops it from fully closing.
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  • Last Updated 08-09-2014
  • Last Reviewed 21-07-2014
  • Algaze, I., Snyder, A.J., Hodges, N.L., & Smith, G.A. (2012). Children treated in United States emergency departments for door-related injuries 1998-2008. Clinical Pediatrics, 51(3), 226-232.

    Doraiswamy, N.V. (1995). Childhood finger injuries and safeguards. Injury Prevention, 5, 298-300.

    Doraiswamy, N.V. & Haig, H. (2000). Isolated finger injuries in children – incidence and aetiology. Injury International Journal of the Care of the Injured, 31, 571-3. 

    Gunatilaka, A., Cassell, E., & Clapperton, A. (2005). Preventing hand entrapment injury from doors. Hazard, 59, 19-22.

    Venema, A. (1995). Entrapment between doors in houses. International Journal for Consumer Safety, 2(1), 13-19.