Protecting Children’s Fingers from Door Injuries

A frequent injury in a youth-serving organization involves a child whose hand or fingers are caught in a closing door. Sometimes it is a minor pinch, often it is much more as a closing door can exert up to 40 tons per square inch of pressure along the gap between its hinges. Fortunately, there are steps your organization can take to prevent this injury.

Closing doors frequently inflict bruised, cut, or smashed fingers, torn or cracked fingernails, broken bones, and even amputations on children. These injuries often happen very quickly before staff can react to prevent them. Basic supervision and monitoring, especially in the proximity of doors, can help prevent many of these injuries. Below are some specific areas to focus on when supervising children:

  • Seat children away from doors during activities to prevent them from putting their fingers in the opening between the door and the doorframe.
  • When children are lining up at the door, have them wait on the latch side of the door so that their hands cannot be pinched as the door opens and closes.
  • Maintain proper staff-to-child ratios and educate your staff on the prevention methods for this type of injury.

The utilization of appropriate pinch protection hardware may also significantly reduce the potential for injury. For a relatively small cost, an organization may protect the children it serves from a potentially life-altering event by installing such hardware on all doors that are in childcare areas or are frequently used by children.

No matter what hardware your organization chooses, it is important that it prevents, not just discourages, the entry of a finger into the danger zone from both sides of the door. It is also important that it protects the door through the full extent of its swing. For a stronger, more durable connection, install the hardware with screws rather than glue.

Visit Fingersafe USA to explore one option of different finger pinch hardware solutions that youth-serving organizations use.