Following reports of at least three deaths that may have been caused by portable bed handles, one manufacturer is recalling roughly 113,000 products that may pose a risk of strangulation and suffocation.
The portable bed handle recall was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on May 20, following reports that suggest elderly users may become entrapped between the raised bed handles and the mattress.
The portable bed rails are separate pieces of tubular steel with a raised handle that can be attached to a standard bed by sliding the poles under the mattress and creating a bedside assisted handle. The products are commonly used to create a supportive sleeping environment to assist the user when repositioning in bed for elderly or disabled people in homes, assisted living centers, and residential care facilities.
The CPSC has determined that the rails create dangerous gaps between the mattress and hand rails if the steel tubes slide out from under the bed, potentially allowing people to become entrapped when repositioning.
The recalled models include Bed Handles Inc. Original Bedside Assistant with model number BA10W, Travel Handles with model number BA11W, and the Adjustable Bedside Assistant with model number AJ1. The models are made out of ¾ inch tubular steel and measure about 20 inches wide by 16 to 20 inches tall and have 3 foot adjustable poles that extend under the mattress.
The Original Bedside Assistant and the Travel Handles models have white handles and white extendable poles and the Adjustable Bedside Assistant models are gold and have black cushioned foam handles. Model names and numbers can be located on a white label attached to the bed handles.
The bed handles were manufactured in the United States by Bed Handles Inc., of Blue Springs Missouri where they were sold at home health care stores, drug stores, medical equipment stores and in home and health catalogs nationwide from January 1994 through December 2007 for about $100.
Consumer watchdog groups have criticized and petitioned against bed rails over the last few years, in an attempt to raise awareness to what they say is a dangerous design. In May of 2011, Public Citizen filed a petition to the FDA and sent a warning letter to the Federal Trade Commission in September 2012, calling for a ban of certain bed rails after identifying four deaths associated with the products.
In 2012, the New York Times published a news article claiming bed rails have caused or been associated with just over 150 deaths and an estimated 35,000 injuries. Shortly after, the CPSC released a product warning letter to users, highlighting the risks of using bed rails.
In December 2013, the FDA issued its own bed rail warning, alerting consumers to the risks of entrapment.
The CPSC recommends customers stop using the recalled bed handles without safety straps immediately and contact Bed Handles Inc. at 800-725-6903 or visit them online at http://bedhandles.com/recall.html for free safety retention straps that secure to bed frames, a new installation instruction manual, and warning labels to attach to the handles.
Tags: Bed Rail