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Protect Against Dangerous Glass Furniture

Post Time:Apr 29,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:434

Tempered Glass Can Reduce Serious Injuries

It's a staggering number. An estimated 20,000 children are seriously injured every year from accidents associated with glass top furniture.

Eleven-year-old Christiana Sarty of Rhode Island recently died when she fell through a coffee table.

Mariarma Sarty cried as she remembered her daughter, who bled to death last December in that accident.

According a police report, ". . . nearby and inside of the table base was observed several large and medium sized shards of broken glass . . . . an autopsy . . . found that Sarty died as a result of heavy sudden blood loss through a puncture."

Sarty explained, "When I go to the hospital, the doctor tells me, 'Oh, your daughter didn't make it.' (The) glass table just killed her."

Injuries from glass furniture became so frequent at the Children's Hospital Boston emergency room that doctors compiled a report to better understand the threat.

Dr. Mark Walzman said, "There have been puncture wounds to the chest, to the heart, to the neck, some resulting in fatalities."

Dr. Wallzman would like to see the laws changed in this country.

"It would be helpful if glass furniture, glass tabletops, were mandated to be made out of tempered glass."

Butch Rosales of Standard Glass in Brighton explained that tempering strengthens glass.

It also breaks much differently than regular, or annealed, glass. When tempered glass breaks, it more or less just crumbles. Regular glass, on the other hand, can turn into dangerous shards.

It was clear as Butch broke samples of both types of glass just how much safer it would be to have tempered glass around children.


Often the problem for shoppers, however, is figuring out which type of has been used in a piece of furniture.

Dr. Walzman says there is no difference in the appearance of the glass. He added, "Unfortunately, a lot of the sales people in stores are not going to know the difference."

We went into about a half dozen local stores to see if glass furniture was either marked, or if sales associates could answer questions for us. While some items were marked, many were not, even on the assembly instructions.

Associates we approached had no idea what kind of glass furniture they selling.

We bought one table at a store on the North Shore, and we were unable to find out what kind of glass was used until we had Rosales break it in his shop. As it shattered into jagged shards, we then found out that it was not tempered glass.

When her daughter died, Mariarma became very frustrated how it happened.
She survived the civil war in Sierra Leone and brought her family here to give them a safe place to grow up. She said angrily that 'if I knew my daughter would die on a glass table, I wouldn't buy it. No!" It's a piece of furniture she will regret for the rest of her life.


Parents should also be aware that as the weather gets warmer, there are no standards for the glass used in patio furniture.


Consumer advocates would like to see the United States adopt the same guidelines that are in place in Europe. Those countries have banned the use of regular glass in furniture altogether.

We contacted several furniture trade associations, but none would comment on this proposal.

Source: wbztv.comAuthor: shangyi

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