A New Study Says This Might Be the Most Dangerous Thing in Your Home

Bad news for anyone who just found their dream glass coffee table.

Your home should be the one place in the world where you feel the absolute safest. Depending on who's in your household, that may mean child-proofing your rooms, changing your smoke detector batteries, and these days, keeping surfaces free of germs and bacteria with regular cleaning. But according to a new study, many families are unknowingly using one of the most dangerous things in their home every day: glass tables.

A recent study from Rutgers University reviewed 3,241 recorded injuries caused by the popular home fixtures posted in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. They found that most accidents involved young children under the age of seven or adults in their early 20s—with 15 percent of them considered "severe" injuries to the upper and lower torso or to the wrist.

Twenty-four of the recorded incidents were trauma center cases, half of which led to surgery. Research showed that eight percent of these patients died within a month of their operation.

Glass kitchen table with full length window view

The researchers pointed out that these life-threatening injuries—which they estimate top 2.5 million each year—are a result of the materials used to make glass tables, which can often break into large, sharp shards when fallen into or bumped up against.

The authors of the study, which was published in the American Journal of Surgery, concluded that more oversight was needed to protect the public from these unintended household disasters.

"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," study author Stephanie Bonne, an assistant professor of surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said in a statement.

And while they may be responsible for some of the ghastliest home injuries, unfortunately, glass tables are not the only item of furniture that can be dangerous. Tip-overs of furniture and appliances such as dressers, televisions, and bookshelves are responsible for thousands of injuries.

In fact, a child dies every two weeks due to a furniture tip-over accident, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. For example, a 2016 recall of 29 million Ikea Hemnes dressers was issued after six children were killed and at least 36 others were injured when the furniture toppled onto them.

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While it can be nearly impossible to tell whether a specific glass table is made of the appropriate safe tempered material that experts recommend, they suggest asking manufacturers before making a purchase—especially if you have young children in the family. And for more on how you're hurting your house, check out 50 Ways You're Ruining Your Home Without Realizing It.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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