Paper Shredders Pose Child Dangers

Government records show 50 children have suffered amputations and lacerations from paper shredders.

(iDAD) -- The rise in identity theft has led millions of families to buy paper shredders. But those same shredders protecting private papers from thieves pose a real risk for children.

"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," says George Foltin, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at New York University School of Medicine and Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Bellevue Hospital Center. "If you have one, it needs to be unplugged and out of children's reach."

Complaints: Paper Shredders Can Cause Serious Injury to Children

From January 2000 through March 2005, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission received 50 reports of incidents involving finger amputations, lacerations and other finger injuries from paper shredders.

"Young children are interested in imitating adult activities," warns the CPSC, "and the children may try to activate the shredder when an adult is not present."

Every machine tested by the CPSC was found to potentially allow a child’s fingers to contact the cutting blades. And, worse, the control switches on many models did not have on/off switches.

Some models even had "auto" settings where the blades are activated when papers are placed in the opening. The CPSC 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.

Paper Shredder Dangers: The Recommendations

Dr. Foltin and other researchers at NYU are calling on manufacturers to redesign shredders to make them safer and to display clear warnings directly on the machines.

Also, they recommend that pediatricians ask parents whether they have a shredder in the home and, if so, advise them to keep it unplugged and out-of-reach (above toddler height) and to never allow children to use the shredder, even under direct supervision.

Pets have also been injured. The federal government says at least one dog had to be put to sleep after the dog's tongue was shredded.

We understand the unique legal and practical problems associated with paper shredder accidents and have experience in representing the injured. Our Law Firm represents injured children across the country and also work to provide resources to help educate the public, in hopes of increasing your and your family's safety. Contact us today for further information. We offer free initial consultations and our Law Firm works on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is no fee unless we successfully resolve your case.

For immediate assistance, call us toll-free at 1.800.862.1260

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