FDA Explains The Need For Caution With Portable Bed Rails

Posted on December 20, 2013

If you have trouble getting around your home and have decided to install portable bed rails around your sleeping space, or if you have an elderly loved one who has done the same, then you absolutely must understand the information on hand from the Food and Drug Administration in a new consumer update.  The agency has delved into how these items could actually compromise safety in certain situations, and it’s imperative that you do whatever you can to mitigate this danger.

You first must realize that these types of rails are not the same as those that are attached to the bed itself.  With portable bed rails, the items are standalone products that have to be properly installed to the unit in question.  Some persons may elect to place these in their own homes, while at other times they could be found at various care centers.  The hope is that the rails can provide an increase in mobility and act as a type of support for when an individual is having trouble hoisting themselves into or off the bed.

Unfortunately, these items also have a propensity for injury if they haven’t been installed in an optimal manner.  Over the course of time, the products could come loose, and then when someone attempts to put their weight on the rail, it could come apart and lead them to sustain a serious injury during the subsequent fall.  The other big worry is that they can begin to pull away from the mattress, creating an opening that the person in the bed could fall into.  They can then suffer injuries while stuck, especially if they’re unable to seek immediate assistance.

Lest you think this is an exaggeration of the serious damage that a faulty bed rail could do, consider the data that has been compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Between 2003 and September of last year, 160 incident reports came into the CPSC, and of those, all but five involved the user being fatally injured.  These most often affected persons older than 60.  A home setting was the site of 90 of the incidents, and around 50% of those persons involved suffered from some type of medical issue.  More than nine in ten fatalities were due to entrapment.

Right now, federal agencies are in the midst of compiling safety recommendations related to these products, but until that time, it may be up to you to ensure safety.  Make sure that any bed rail installed in your home or that of an elderly loved one is compatible with the bed being used.  Follow installation instructions to the tee and check up on the rail often to ensure it hasn’t created too large of an aperture.

How Can We Help You?

If you have a legal matter you would like to discuss with an attorney from our firm, please call us at (310) 477-1700 or complete and submit the e-mail form below, and we will get back to you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

*Required Fields