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Coffee Table Safety – A Guide For Parents
Coffee tables can make or break a room. The right one can make a stylish statement, bringing all your furniture together. However, one element that many people fail to consider is whether their coffee table is actually safe.
Most people, when buying a coffee table, even a glass one, automatically assume that safety is standard. However, this is not always the case.
Glass coffee tables
Glass coffee tables look elegant and modern and can make a room look lighter and more airy. However, they can pose a danger to both young children and adults. This is because in the US there is no requirement that glass tables be made of tempered glass.
Tempered glass is glass that has been treated so that if broken, it shatters into small, regularly shaped cubes that are unlikely to cause injury. However, many tables are not made of this type of glass. Many coffee tables are actually made from a thicker sheet of usually less expensive glass. If this glass breaks, it can break into long spikes that can easily pierce the body.
For this reason, it is extremely important when purchasing a glass coffee table to check that it is made of tempered glass. Not only should you ask the sales assistant, but you should seek confirmation that their answer is correct, as it can be very difficult to tell what type of glass the table is made of just by looking. You might think it’s unlikely to break, but people fall, especially children. Even sitting on the table when distracted can cause it to break and cause life-shattering injuries.
Many people feel that in households with young children, even a tempered glass coffee table is unsuitable, as the possibility of breakage is too great. Of course, it’s up to individual parents to make their own choices on this matter, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution when safety is at stake. For parents who consider a glass coffee table an absolute necessity, the option of protective films should also be considered.
Wooden coffee tables
Wooden coffee tables generally have fewer safety issues than glass ones; however, there are dangers that may exist. One particular common hazard is the problem of young children learning to walk and injuring themselves on sharp corners. Many baby and parenting stores and even IKEA now sell corner bumpers; small rounded foam or plastic caps that help prevent injury. Although they are not too attractive to look at, they are a great way to prevent accidents and should only be used for a relatively short time while your child is in the toddler phase. Similarly, there are now available “bumpers” that can be placed on the edges of any wooden coffee table. These are heavily padded pieces of material that are fixed to the surface to prevent injury. They can later be removed when they are no longer needed.
Drawers and lifting top lids
Liftable top covers can also pose a hazard to small children. Very often, especially in the case of wooden coffee tables, the cover can be very heavy. Because of this, there is always the possibility of small children getting their fingers caught. If you choose a table of this type, you may need to secure the top as your children grow to prevent injury.
Drawers are another hazard for small children. Fingers are easy to squeeze and grip. As with so many other areas of the home, safety features such as drawer locks may need to be included to keep your child safe.
Aside from the safety features of the coffee tables themselves, there is also an important consideration of what is placed on top of the coffee table. While the dining table may be out of reach for small children, the coffee table is the perfect height for little fingers to explore. Many young children have a particular fascination with coffee tables, spending hours exploring the treasures they may hold. That’s why it’s important to think before placing hot drinks, glassware, porcelain ornaments, nuts or anything else that could pose a hazard on the surface.
While all of these factors do take some time and thought, the benefits of keeping your child safe far outweigh any time or financial costs. Remember: when it comes to children, safety is always the number one priority.
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