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Activists petition for safer bed rails in nursing homes

April 29, 2013
by Pamela Tabar, Senior Editor
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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) is asking the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to consider stricter guidelines and national standards on bed rails designed for senior living environments. Currently, no national mandatory standards are in place for adult bed rails, the organization says.

Poorly designed bed rails can accidentally trap a resident between the rail and the mattress, creating the risk of asphyxiation or injuries, noted the website of Levin & Perconti, a Chicago personal injury law firm. Portable bedrails may be the most dangerous, since by default they have no bed-specific mounting and have a risk of not being installed properly.

The Consumer Voice petition site reports that 550 people have died since 1995 from injuries related to bed rails, and 37,000 have been injured by bed rails in the past 10 years.

“In this country we've worked hard to keep vulnerable children safe in bed. Why can't we do the same for the vulnerable elderly? We need regulations that prevent deaths and injuries from bed rails—regardless of how they are classified and where they are found,” reads the Consumer Voice’s petition.

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