IAFCS Focuses on Baby Gates for Baby Safety Month

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The IAFCS wants to share important tips about baby gates to help families safely childproof their homes.

The IAFCS is pleased to celebrate Baby Safety Month, sponsored annually by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This year, the IAFCS is focusing on baby gates, an important safety product that helps prevent injuries from falls, one of the leading causes of injuries in the home.

When childproofing a home, baby gates are used to prevent access to the stairs or other dangerous areas. Baby gates are usually at the top of the childproofing shopping list when families are ready to start childproofing. However, many parents make multiple shopping trips to find baby gates before the installation process even begins.

"With the wide selection of baby gates on the market and installation instructions that do not describe most homes, parents are often overwhelmed when selecting and installing gates," says Colleen Driscoll, executive director of the IAFCS.

The IAFCS wants to share important safety tips to help families childproof their stairways. It is important to protect both the top and the bottom of stairways. A curious toddler can quickly crawl up a flight of stairs and fall. Baby gates are not just for stairways. Add them to other locations in your home to block access to home hazards such as a fireplace or a brick hearth. Consider blocking access to the bottom of the stairs by installing a baby gate in a doorway that leads to the stairs.

Do not use a pressure gates at the top of the stairs even if the box says you can use it at the top of the stairs. Pressure gates can become dislodged. Most homes have railings, banister posts or uneven surfaces that are not designed for the installation of a pressure-mounted gate. Hardware-mounted gates that are installed with screws into solid wood surfaces are a more reliable and sturdy option for industrious toddlers.

Most gate installations on stairways require the use of gate mounts. Gate mounts are products used with banisters, railings and baseboard molding so gates can be installed safely. Some gate mounts avoid drilling holes into banister posts. Gate mounts are available from childproofing specialists.

When installing your baby gate, please do not raise it to allow for a cat to crawl under it. The space for the cat will be dangerous for your child. Once the gate is installed, avoid climbing over your gates because a curious toddler might try to imitate you.

Not all gates are designed for childproofing. The IAFCS recommends that families select baby gates that are JPMA-certified. Most pet gates are not JPMA-certified and are not suitable for use with children.

Regardless of whether parents decide to use a professional childproofer, parents can reduce the risk of injuries in their home by following these safety tips provided by the IAFCS. For more tips or to find a child safety professional in your area, visit http://www.iafcs.org.

The IAFCS is an organization of child safety professionals who are dedicated to increasing safety awareness and preventing childhood injuries. The IAFCS and its members specialize in assisting families in understanding home hazards, finding quality and reliable safety products and with the challenge of installing child safety products. IAFCS members include professional childproofers, pool fence installers, manufacturers, medical practitioners, baby planners and other professionals who help parents and caregivers create safer home environments for children to explore and grow. The IAFCS has the first and only certification program for Certified Professional Childproofers.

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Colleen Driscoll
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