GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. An increasing number of children are heading to the hospital for injuries from something that's supposed to keep them safe.
Baby gates are behind emergency room trips for 2,000 children a year, a number three times larger than 20 years ago.
"I'm really safety conscious," said Kristen Allen, a mother of two-year-old twins who uses baby gates. "I'm sure every parent is. Nobody wants their kids to get hurt."
The Mesa County Health Department's spokesperson, Veronica Daehn-Harvey, said baby gates are important safety tools for parents, but they need to be installed correctly. User error is the most common reason for injuries.
"If you buy a baby gate and you install it correctly, follow the manufacturer's instructions, most of the time it's going to keep your kiddo safe," she said.
Gates that are pressurized should be used at the bottom of the steps and the gates at the top of stairs should be able to be screwed into the wall.
"That's really going to make sure that your gate is secure and isn't going to be able to be pushed over by your infant or your toddler." Daehn-Harvey said.
Also, parents should always still keep an eye on their young children.
"Baby gates are not an excuse for parents to not pay attention to their children or really make sure that they're safe," she said. "Ultimately, a child's safety is up to the parents."
The Mesa County Health Department's new program, SafeCare, will come to people's homes to teach child-proofing techniques, such as how to correctly install baby gates. For more information, call 970-260-2356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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