An 11-year-old girl from Providence, R.I. recently died after falling into or jumping on a glass table. She suffered a severe puncture wound and died of uncontrollable bleeding.
Consumer Reports says that, unlike glass shower doors, there’s no requirement that glass tables be made of safety glass (the kind that breaks apart into small pieces instead of deadly shards).
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. These grim statistics prompted Consumers Union to make a presentation to ASTM-International in late 2005 recommending that a safety standard be developed to address the hazard posed by glass in furniture. Three years later, a standard is currently under development.
This issue has escaped the attention of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an agency that could easily fix this problem. A requirement to use tempered glass in furniture would virtually eliminate all serious laceration injuries. The CPSC currently requires the use of safety glass in shower doors and storm doors, but not glass tables.
There’s really no way to tell if your glass table is made with safety glass — so make sure to ask the retailer or manufacturer. Or, if you have kids, don’t let them play anywhere near a glass table.
CR also has a video of some coffee tables shattering, if you’re into destruction. (Of course you are.) The video also features an interview with a guy who almost died from sitting on a glass coffee table. Yikes.
Girl dies after crashing through glass table [Consumer Reports]