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Glass Table-Related Injuries in Children

Kimia, Amir A. MD*; Waltzman, Mark L. MD*; Shannon, Michael W. MD, MPH*; Mays, Donald L. MMath; Johnston, Patrick R. MMath; Hummel, David MSc*; Ben-Joseph, Elana Pearl MD*; Lee, Lois K. MD, MPH*

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31819b41c8
Original Articles

Objectives: To investigate the patterns of injury sustained from glass table-related accidents to estimate whether tempered glass would prevent injuries.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of all patients in an urban pediatric emergency department between October of 1995 and May for 2007 for glass table-related accidents. Data collected included age, sex, injury characteristics, examination findings, radiographic imaging, interventions, and disposition. We used a preventability score ranging from I (fully preventable injury with safety glass) to IV (unlikely to be preventable with safety glass).

Results: We identified 174 eligible patients during the study period. The median age was 3.4 years (interquartile range, 2.0-6.6 years); 62.1% were boys. The face was most commonly involved (45.6%) followed by lower (23.8%) and upper extremities (18.9%). Patients younger than 5 years were associated with more facial injuries (odds ratio, 6.0; 95% confidence interval, 2.9-12.6). Radiographs were obtained in 68 patients, and computed tomographic scans in 3 (total, 40.1%). Surgical repair was needed in 143 patients (82.1%), of whom 15 (10.5%) underwent procedural sedation and 8 (5.6%) required operative management. Reviewers ranked 74 patients (42.5%) as grade I, 20 patients (11.5%) as grade II, 64 patients (36.8%) as grade III, and 16 patients (9.2%) as grade IV.

Conclusions: Glass table injuries are associated with significant morbidity. More than half of the injuries may have been prevented or mitigated with the use of tempered glass. Pediatricians are advised to discourage families from the purchase of nontempered glass tables, while advocating for legislation mandating the use of tempered glass.

From the *Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; and †Product Safety and Technical Public Policy, Consumers Union/Consumer Reports, Yonkers, NY.

Reprints: Amir A. Kimia, MD, Division of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.