Bed (side) rails are commonly found on beds in long-term care facilities and are used to keep the people from falling out of bed or getting out and wandering off. They are typically made of metal or plastic and can be either permanently fixed to the bed or can be portable.
Bed rails, however, pose serious risks to vulnerable populations. Gaps between the bars or between the rails and the mattress can trap those too weak or confused to escape leading to skin tears, bruises, fractures, and even suffocation. The use of bed rails leads to a false sense of security as some elders have been reported climbing over the rails in order to get out of bed, and falling.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported a staggering estimate of 36.900 bed rail-related emergency room visits over a nine-year period. The number of deaths attributed to side rails during that same period was 155.
As of 2012, the Food and Drug Administration has also received complaints of 550 deaths allegedly linked to bed rails.
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is urging people to sign a petition calling for the CPSC and FDA to implement minimum safety standards for adult bed rails, and to make mandatory the recall of known dangerous products.
Help protect the elderly from dangerous bed rails