Be Aware of Paper Shredder Danger - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/5/06

Be Aware of Paper Shredder Danger

As identity theft increases, more and more consumers are turning to paper shredders as a way to protect themselves. In the past five years, home paper shredder sales have increased 35%, but this product that's designed to protect your identity is also being called a hidden home hazard.

Medical Director of the Children's Emergency Room at Covenant Medical Center, Dr. Michael O'Neill says, "That would be a really serious injury because paper shredders are designed to cut paper into sections that don't match up easily. " O'Neill says once a child's hand or finger got caught inside a shredder, it would be difficult to repair the damage. O'Neill says, "With a smaller hand it would be quite easily to cut tendons and bones."

Talen Broadfoot of Irving, Texas was two years old when his finger got caught inside a paper shredder. His mother Lisa Broadfoot says, "It just came up and I guess just got a hold of one little finger and then just took all three of his middle fingers on his left hand." Doctors had to amputate three of Talen's fingers. 

It's just one of fifty reported injuries, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received since 2000.  Patty Davis with the Consumer Product Safety Commission says, "The voluntary standard that applies to paper shredders is that the opening can't allow a 12 year olds finger to fit inside the paper shredder."

The commission is working to create new standards to make openings smaller. But until then, Doctor O'Neill suggests you take preventative action.  Dr. O'Neill says, "Most are trash can models. They start at about a foot and work their way up. That's where a child's word is and starts at the floor and goes up two feet. "

Doctor O'Neill suggests you get on your hands and knees and crawl around your home to look for any other hidden hazards that may be a danger to your child. If you use a paper shredder, unplug it and store it out of a child's reach. Use it only when your children aren't around.

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