Prevent Pinched Fingers in Children's Areas of Your Ministry

Consider installing hinge guards on nursery, daycare doors

Young children are often unaware of where they place their hands, and sometimes they will stick them into the spaces between hinges or along the edge of a door frame. The gap between the hinges of a door can apply up to 40 tons of pressure, and when that door closes, the child’s fingers are in danger.

On average, more than 70,000 children are treated each year in U.S. emergency rooms for injuries caused by door pinches, according to a report published by the Center for Injury Research and Policy. Of young patients admitted to the hospital for door-related injuries, about 30 percent lost one or more fingers to amputation.

Because injuries can be serious, many states encourage child care providers to install hinge guards or other forms of door-slam protection in children’s spaces. Take time to examine the safety of all doors in children’s areas and consider installing protective devices to reduce the risk of these painful injuries.

To help prevent this type of injury:

  • Keep children away from doors that may be opening or closing during an activity.
  • Always look before closing a door to make sure a child isn’t at risk of getting hurt.
  • Make sure your children’s area is staffed adequately. You can find general guidance from the Child Development Council or by downloading Guidelines for Ministry Workers. Some states mandate specific teacher-to-child ratios for licensed day care, preschool, and elementary school programs. Check with your attorney or state licensing agency for specific requirements.

Along with good supervision, many products may help reduce the risk of injuries. Consider installing these products on high-traffic doors, such as bathroom doors and entrances or exits.

  • Hinge guards to keep fingers out of the gap between the door and the frame.
  • Hydraulic door closers to prevent doors from slamming shut. They operate either manually or automatically and are available at most hardware stores.

Even with precautions, fingers can still get pinched. Train children’s workers to be on the lookout for little fingers whenever they open or close doors.