Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.1 Overall Requirements

5.1.3 Openings Finger-Pinch Protection Devices

Finger-pinch protection devices should be installed wherever doors, cupboards/cabinets, and gates are accessible to children. These devices include:

  1. Flexible plastic and rubber devices that cover the gap created at the front and rear hinge-sides of a door or gate when it is opened;
  2. Other types of flexible coverings for these gaps;
  3. Adjustable door closing devices that slow the rate of door closing. Slowing the door closing rate helps prevent finger pinching in the latch area of the door or abrupt closing of the door against a small child.
Finger-pinch injuries in doors are a significant cause of injury among claims against liability insurance in child care. Closing doors and gates create significant exposure to children for bruised, cut, or smashed fingers, torn or cracked fingernails, broken bones, and even amputations. Finger-pinch injuries happen very quickly, often before staff can react. Finger-pinch protection devices ensure that this type of injury does not occur.
A child doesn’t have to pass through a door or gate to acquire a finger-trapping injury. A child can be on the outside of one of these doors and still get their fingers trapped while it is being closed. Young children are vulnerable to injury when they fall against the rear hinge-side of doors and gates, striking the projecting hinges. The installation of rear finger-pinch protection devices will eliminate this problem, too (1). Piano hinges are not recommended to alleviate this problem as they tend to sag over time with heavy use.

Costs of these devices vary significantly, as do method and extent of protection, product durability and warranty; the different products may not provide equally suitable protection. Whatever hardware is selected should prevent (not just discourage) the entry of a finger into the danger zone from both sides of the door or gate and should protect the door or gate through the full extent of its swing (i.e., it should be capable of protecting doors and gates that open 180 degrees). Attachment should use screws rather than glue for a stronger, more durable connection.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Moseley, G. 2008. Closing the door on finger injuries. Doors and Hardware 72:38-41.