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Agency Warns About Security Gates

October 23, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government issued a warning to consumers about the dangers of automatic security gates that can trap, injure and kill people _ especially children.

Since 1985, 32 people have died from accidents related to the sliding or swinging gates, including 20 children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday.

From 1990 to 2000, the agency estimated that nearly 25,000 people suffered injuries related to automatic gates, including 9,000 children younger than 15. The injuries included cuts, broken bones and amputations.

In 1993, 8-year-old Marlow Santos was playing tag when he climbed through the bars of a sliding gate near his Gardena, Calif. apartment building, said Michelle Talbert, the boy’s aunt. Someone from down the street activated the gate, which trapped the boy’s chest, stopping his heart. After 17 days in the hospital, he died.

Chicago-based Underwriters Laboratories, which provides safety certifications, adopted a standard last year that requires a sensing device that will reverse the gate if it hits an obstruction when opening or closing. The voluntary standard also requires a secondary sensing mechanism, such as an electric eye or an edge sensor that will reverse the gate if it detects something in the way.

Many older gates, however, do not have sensing devices or reversing mechanisms to prevent accidents, the safety commission said.

Ann Brown, the agency’s chairwoman, said that if a building has an older gate, consumers should ask the property manager to have it replaced with a new model that meets the safety standard.

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On the Net:

CPSC: http://www.cpsc.gov

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