Q: My friends have removed a pane of glass from their French door so their cat can come and go. I'm worried that their toddler will get stuck trying to crawl through. Is this a hazard for the child?
A: You highlight an important danger for children of which parents may not be aware. The natural curiosity of children may lead them into places where they shouldn't go. We call these places "entrapment hazards." A house with children shouldn't have them.
Some of the most tragic instances of entrapment happen when the openings in a guardrail allow a child's body to slip through, but the relatively large head can't pass, and the child hangs, sometimes fatally. New baby cribs are designed with the upright railings close together -- no more than 2 3/8 inches apart -- so neither body nor head can slip through. Other guardrails, such as along stairs, should not have any spaces large enough to permit a 4-inch ball from passing through.