Surgeons call for routine use of door safery catches to curb epidemic of fingertip injuries

12 October 2017 

The British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (BAPRAS) is today calling for all parents and carers to routinely use doorstoppers in an effort to cut the estimated 50,000 children and toddlers each year whose hands and fingers are crushed by closing doors.

Fingertip injuries are the most common hand injury seen by plastic and reconstructive surgeons with toddlers most at risk. Most parents present at A&E which can mean lengthy waits, at least one x-ray and consultation with specialist consultants. Many require multiple procedures with one in six injuries resulting in an amputation. Such injuries can leave children with lifelong disfigurement, pain and even depression.

Figures collected in just one London hospital reveal that last year door crushing accidents resulted in 630 nailbed injury operations – 40% of these were paediatric cases. Yet routine use of door safety catches that cost a little over £1 can guard against injury to little fingers.


BAPRAS spokesperson, Ms Anna De Leo who is a surgeon based at The Royal Free Hospital, London, explains: “It’s easy to underestimate how important your hands are to doing everyday tasks. Injuries to fingers and hands mean tying your shoe laces, typing, holding a mobile phone or eating become a lot more challenging. And this is nothing compared to the impact of a finger amputation. In this situation people may experience elbow pain, migraines and even depression. Fingertip injury alone can result in 20% loss of hand strength and can prevent people from pursuing their chosen career.”

The top three risk factor identified by BAPRAS surgeons are:

  • Self-shutting fire safety doors.
  • Car doors
  • Hinges

One proposed solution to combatting the increase in hand trauma is the use of doorstoppers – in particular, small “C” shaped foam/rubber products which are designed to be placed over the door to prevent slamming of doors on children’s fingers. Every year, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA,) 30,000 children trap and seriously crush their fingers in doors at home, school, nursery or shops. More than 1,500 of these children will need surgery, sometimes requiring ongoing reconstructive surgery.(1) RoSPA recommends the provision of hinge protectors to prevent finger entrapment. 

Ms De Leo added: “People joke that it is just a finger injury – but the reality for people who sustain those injuries is significant – as more likely than not, they will live with an impairment for the rest of their lives. The injuries are so serious, that the patient would need to undergo a clinic appointment, an X-ray, day surgery, a follow up nurse appointment and possibly physiotherapy.”

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Notes to editor

(1) (2017). Preventing Child Finger Door Trapping Accidents. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017]