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Portable Bed Rails Warning Issued By CPSC Over Risk of Entrapment, Asphyxia

Federal safety officials are warning consumers to stop using three model of adult portable bed rails, which were manufactured by the now defunct company Bed Handles, Inc., indicating the bed rails pose an entrapment hazard which may lead to asphyxia or death.

In a press release on April 29, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that because the manufacturer is no longer in business, no recall remedy is available for owners. However, the Bed Handles products should no longer be used, due to the serious risks they present.

The bedside rails are portable and feature separate pieces that can be attached to a standard bed, by sliding a piece of rail under the mattress. They are designed to help adults get out of bed, but the CPSC warns the design allows an individual to become trapped between the metal bar and the mattress while sleeping, or between parts of the bedrail itself, potentially leading to asphyxiation.

In December 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to consumers regarding the use of similar portable bed rail products and the risk of entrapment after an investigation by the FDA and CPSC revealed there had been at least 155 deaths and five injuries linked to the use of portable bed rails between January 2003 and September 2012.

The CPSC noted more than 90% of the deaths were caused by entrapment in the bed rails. Users can become trapped anywhere in or around the rail, between rail bars, between the rail and the mattress or between the rail and the headboard.

The products affected by the latest CPSC warning include the Adjustable Bedside Assistant, with model number AJ1; the Original Bedside Assistant, with model number BA10W; and the Travel Handles, model BA11W.  The model number can be found on a white label located on the bottom of the handle.

The Bedside Assistant rails were manufactured by Bed Handles, Inc., which the CPSC says is now out of business, and were sold online and through retailers such as Walmart.com, MedontheGo.com, soymedical.com, bpimedicalsupply.com, sonomasurgical.com, and others for around $80 to $100. The products have also been found for sale on resale sites, such as eBay.com.

In May 2014, the CPSC issued a recall of about 113,000 of the same models, following reports of at least three deaths; all of which involved victims being caught between the mattress and the bed handles. At the time, the CPSC said the models lacked a retention strap to keep them from shifting out of place and creating a potentially dangerous gap. Those products were manufactured between 1994 and 2007.

After 2007, retention straps were sold with the bed rails, but the CPSC eventually determined the straps were not adequate to protect consumers. By then, a fourth death had been reported.

The CPSC urges consumers to stop using these bed rails and report any related incidents to the agency at www.SaferProducts.gov.

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