Posts Tagged ‘ home safety ’

Four-Year-Old’s Death Highlights Bunk Bed Dangers

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

DanielMcGarryThe British newspaper The Telegraph published a harrowing story this week about a four-year-old boy from Cumbria, England who died after rolling off a bunk bed in his sleep.

The hand-me-down bed originally came with barriers on both sides of the top bunk, but family members had reassembled the bed without the barrier on the wall side. “Relatives were unsure what had happened to it but thought that since the bed was pushed up against a wall any child using it would be safe,” The Telegraph explained.

On the evening of February 15, Daniel McGarry was placed in the top bunk after he had fallen asleep. When his mother checked on him later that night, she found him hanging between the bed and the wall, and a neighbor with medical training was unable to revive him.

“If there is a wider message to be passed out, it would be to check that bunk beds are properly constructed,” Coroner David Roberts told The Telegraph. “Parents should also ensure that barriers are placed on both sides. They can’t rely on the wall alone being adequate protection to stop a child slipping down and falling from the bed.”

In 2000, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission set mandatory requirements for all bunk beds manufactured in the United States to prevent children from becoming trapped in the bed or between the bed and the wall. Bunk beds made since 2000 must meet the following standards:

  • Every bunk bed must have an affixed label that states the bed’s manufacturer, model, and mattress size information.
  • Every bunk bed must have a warning label that advises against placing children under six years of age in the upper bunk.
  • If the bunk bed is taller than 30 inches, it must have a continuous guardrail on the wall side of bed.
  • Openings on the upper and the lower bunks must be small enough that a child’s head, torso, or limb cannot pass through them.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also warns that children younger than six should never sleep in the upper level of a bunk bed. Additional safety tips from the Commission:

  • Follow instructions carefully when assembling a new bunk bed.
  • Use only proper-sized, manufacturer-recommended mattresses.
  • Make sure that there are no openings in either the upper or lower bunk that are large enough for a child’s head, torso, or limb to pass through.
  • Discuss safety concerns and the proper usage of bunk beds with your children.

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5,000 Kids, Teens Injured in Window Falls Each Year

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A new report from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio has found that more than 5,000 American children are injured by falling from windows each year, The Associated Press reports.

Many fall from first- or second-story windows, the AP says:

“Two-thirds of these injuries occurred among children younger than 5. This is the age group that’s mobile, curious and does not recognize the danger of falling from a window,” [senior author Gary] Smith said.

The study, appearing Monday in the journal Pediatrics, is the first nationally representative study of such injuries. Researchers analyzed data from emergency departments from 1990 through 2008. An estimated 98,415 children were hurt during that time.

Fewer than 1 percent of the cases led to deaths, but the researchers said the tally likely underestimated fatalities because not all children who die from their injuries are brought to the hospital.

Summer months, when windows are left open, saw the highest number of injuries. One- and two-story falls made up 94 percent of the cases where the height of the fall was recorded.

Parents are urged to install window guards, which are bars that allow windows to open but prevent children from climbing out.  The guards cost $20 to $40 per window.  Parents should also move furniture or climb-able objects away from windows to prevent children from being tempted to explore near an open window.  Researchers also recommend opening windows from the top, if possible.

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