New study reveals surprising injury danger from glass coffee tables

Posted Sep 18, 2020.

The study, featured in the latest edition of US publication The American Journal of Surgery, covered a wide range of injury types and severity from life-threatening, emergency trauma centre admissions through to less dangerous and non-life threating injuries. The study, based on data collected between 2009 and 2015, found that glass coffee tables pose a surprisingly serious risk of major injury and even death, with more than 2 million such injuries being reported in the USA alone each year.

Typical injuries

The most common type of incident reported involved falls onto a glass table. Such falls can often result in cuts, bruises and lacerations should the unfortunate individual break through the glass top, or puncture wounds, organ damage and severe blood loss in the most severe cases. The statistics in the report also show that at one US hospital, just over 50% of patients required surgery following a glass table accident, with a shocking 1 in 12 dying within a month of the incident. In another surprise, the report reveals that falls onto glass tables were most common by children under seven and young adults in their twenties, rather than older individuals. Overall, just over one in ten injuries were classified as ‘severe’.

The report has led to calls for increased public awareness and new legislation to protect consumers from the potential dangers posed by glass coffee tables. The majority of glass tables and similar domestic furniture are made of plate glass. Unlike more expensive tempered glass, when broken plate glass will typically split into large, sharp and jagged shards. Tempered glass is designed to break into much smaller pieces and has been mandatory for many years for uses including car windows and shower doors. However, in most countries tempered glass is not a legal requirement when used for horizontal surfaces such as a table top.

In commenting on the report, a spokesperson for Rutgers New Jersey Medical School said:

“It is imperative to push for stricter regulation as consumers of glass tables should not be incurring life-threatening trauma injuries due to neglect of manufacturers in not using tempered glass”

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