Sadly, in December 2008, an 11-year-old Rhode Island girl died after she suffered a severe puncture wound to her leg when she jumped on and fell into a glass coffee table in her family's apartment.
According to Consumer Reports, each year an estimated 20,000 people, most of them children, are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained from glass furniture. In an average year, three children die. The injuries can turn critical in moments due to severe blood loss.
This issue here is that many glass coffee tables are manufactured using standard annealed glass, which breaks into large, deadly shards that can cause severe injury. In contrast, glass tables manufactured with tempered glass shatter into small pieces when broken (thus posing far less risk of injury). We encourage you to watch the video provided by Consumer Reports to see the difference. If you already own a glass coffee table, the video should prompt you to investigate its composition, and replace it if it is made from annealed glass rather than tempered glass (albeit it is difficult to tell the difference).
Consumer Reports opines that a federal requirement to use tempered glass in furniture would virtually eliminate all serious laceration injuries. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission currently only requires the use of safety glass in shower doors and storm doors.
Check out the latest issue of D’Amore Law Group’s Living Safer magazine!