October 24, 2001
New Safety Standard for Automatic Security Gates Helps
Prevent Deaths and Injuries to Children
- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is alerting
consumers to a tougher safety standard that should prevent children from
becoming entrapped in automatic security gates. These sliding or swinging
gates are typically found at the entrances of residences, apartment
buildings, condominiums, parking lots and garages, and commercial
Since 1985, CPSC has learned of 32 deaths related to automatic gates,
including 20 deaths to children. From 1990 to 2000, CPSC has estimated that
nearly 25,000 people have been involved in automatic gate-related injuries,
including 9,000 children under 15 years old. Each year over 2,000 people,
including 800 children, are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries
to the head, neck, arm, or hand.
Children and adults can be severely injured or killed if they become
entrapped in the gates as they are automatically opened or closed. The
injuries also include cuts, broken bones, hematomas, and amputations. Many
older gates do not have sensing devices or reversing mechanisms to prevent
"If your apartment or condominium complex has an older gate, contact a
manager or your homeowners' association and have it replaced with a safer
automatic gate that meets the new standard. It could save a life," said CPSC
Chairman Ann Brown.
"In educating the public about the danger these gates can present, it is my
hope that other families will not suffer, like my family and nephew have,"
said Michelle Talbert, aunt of 8-year-old Marlow Santos, of Gardena, Calif.,
who died after he became entrapped in a sliding gate.
CPSC worked with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to develop the tougher
safety standard that requires automatic gates to have at least two
mechanisms to prevent entrapment. These provisions are similar to the
standards in effect for automatic garage doors. The standard, which UL
adopted in March 2000, requires a sensing device that will reverse the gate
if it encounters an obstruction when opening or closing; and a secondary
sensing mechanism, such as an electric eye or an edge sensor that will
reverse the gate if an obstruction is detected.
Additional safety measures related to gate installation include:
Elimination of all gaps over 2.25 inches. Installation of controls far
enough from the gate so users cannot come into contact with the gate while
operating the controls. Installation of controls where the user has full
view of the gate operation. Elimination of pinch points. Installation of
guarding on exposed rollers. Posting of warning signs on each side of the