Article Courtesy of the Boston Channel

Researchers at Children’s Hospital are warning that lax standards on the strength of glass tables may contribute to thousands of children being seriously injured each year by broken glass.

A new study conducted by the hospital concluded that nearly half of the 174 children treated at the Children’s for serious injuries from a glass table would have escaped injury or suffered less severe wounds if the tables had been manufactured with stronger glass.

Researchers used a computer algorithm to analyze all cases reported to the hospital between 1995 and 2007 and found that the injuries most frequently occurred when children jumped, sat or fell on glass tables or knocked them over. About two thirds of the injuries were suffered by boys, and patients had a median age of 3.4 years, the study also found.

Cuts to the face were the most common wound, particularly in little children, followed by lacerations to the feet, legs, hands and arms. About 40 percent of patients needed imaging to find pieces of glass buried in their bodies, and 80 percent needed surgery to treat their wounds, the study found.

“Huge shards of glass are basically like knives,” said Amir Kimia, MD, who led the study. “If they sever an artery, they can cause uncontrolled bleeding, and the injury can be fatal.”


The authors of the study said that the use of tempered glass, which is required in sliding doors and windshields, could prevent thousands of injuries each year. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard glass and breaks into small fragments that are less likely to cause injury.

“This is a serious safety hazard with a simple remedy,” said Donald Mays, senior director of product safety and technical policy for Consumers Union, which cosponsored the study. “The use of tempered glass can significantly reduce the more than 20,000 serious injuries incurred each year from the use of common annealed glass in furniture.”

There are currently no safety standards in place for tables with glass tops or glass panels, according to a statement from the hospital. Although some furniture makers already use tempered glass in their products, there is no way to visually deduce that the glass has been strengthened.

The study will appear in a March issue of Pediatric Emergency Care.

Researchers at Children’s said they have launched a similar investigation of other glass-related safety threats, including thermometers and Christmas ornaments.

Study finds that the use of tempered glass could prevent thousands of children from getting hurt.

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