A menace lurks in homes nationwide: glass tables. A shattering new study in the American Journal of Surgery finds that glass tables threaten bodily well-being nationwide, accounting for over 2.5 million injuries a year.
The study traced six years of glass table injuries in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which tracks injuries from 100 emergency rooms around the U.S. Of the 3,265 injuries in the study, 15% were severe, and 24 were seen in level 1 trauma centers.
When things go south with glass tables:
- most injuries affect arms, shoulders, and forehead
- half of the injuries are lacerations
- those lacerations can include organ damage, vessel punctures, and death
Glass tables most frequently injure children under age 7 and . . . early-twentysomethings. Yep. And men. Seventy percent of the victims were male.
The incident descriptions are rather alarming: Some people garner traumatic injuries when they fall through glass tables, while others tumble when a table breaks and sustain blunt injuries. Of the trauma center patients, a third suffered injuries to deep organs, and 58% required surgery. Half needed inpatient care.
All this bloodshed is preventable. Building codes currently require that doors use tempered glass, which is stronger and shatters into small, dull chunks. The researchers, a team from Rutgers University, call for regulations requiring tempered glass to be mandatory in tables.
“Consumers of glass tables should not be incurring life-threatening trauma injuries due to neglect of manufacturers in not using tempered glass,” said coauthor Stephanie Bonne, an assistant professor of surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in a statement.