Paper Shredders Pose Injury Risk to Toddlers

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"It's a dangerous piece of machinery and leaving it in the home unattended and accessible to young children could result in a serious hand injury," said George Foltin, MD, Associate Professor of Paediatrics and Emergency Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. "If you have one, it needs to be unplugged and out of children's reach."

The authors also summarise the findings of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) recent investigation into home paper shredder injuries. The article discusses several points of concern including the ages of injured. Twenty-two (71%) of the 31 home paper shredder injuries involved children under twelve years of age and over half of those injuries involved children under three years of age. Most of the injuries that resulted in amputations occurred mostly to children under six years of age.

Easy access to the shredder and to the blades itself was also a major area of concern. The CPSC assessment of sample home paper shredders ranged from 13 to 16.5 inches, allowing easy access to toddlers. Additionally, every machine tested by the CPSC was found to potentially allow a child's fingers to contact the cutting blades. The report also found that no machine tested had a release mechanism to allow separation of the blades from one another, which made it difficult for emergency personnel to remove the children's fingers from the blades.

In anticipation of the growing risk, researchers concluded the article with a call to manufacturers to redesign the shredders to make them safer and to display clear warnings directly on the machines. The authors recommend that paediatricians ask parents whether they have a shredder in the home and, if so, advise them to keep it unplugged and out-of-reach and to never allow children to use the shredder, even under direct supervision.

MEDICA.de; Source: New York University School of Medicine