Could you please update me on the recommended gaps in household furniture and fittings to avoid injury to children?

There are some basic standards which, in the absence of specific ones for a particular product, can be more widely applied.

Vertical rods should be spaced so as to prevent a child’s body falling through but not to cause entrapment of its head. Section K3.3 of the current Building Regulations specifies that balustrades and banisters for any building likely to be used by children under five years of age should be spaced no more than 100mm apart. In the case of cots, the latest harmonised European standard specifies a maximum gap of 65mm between the vertical bars. RoSPA would suggest a gap of between 45mm and 65mm for any similar product with vertical bars. There is a move towards harmonizing the gaps between vertical rods whether on stairs or in cots to 60mm and this is likely to feature in amended standards in the future.

For products where there is a risk of pinching of fingers, such as hinges, there should be no gaps between 5mm and 12mm. This recommendation is for hinged toys, but this can be applied more widely.

Date Updated/Created: 19/02/2013

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