A new study in published on Live Science reports that cylindrical, collapsible laundry hampers may develop frayed fabric edges, which may cause the internal coiled wire to pop out, resulting in serious injury to a child's eyes. The paper describes two cases involving children who both severely cut open their right eyes when the sharp wire tip sprang loose.
In one of the cases, an 11-year-old boy was injured after tossing his clothes into his pop-up hamper. The cloth on the hamper rim had frayed, allowing the springy wire coil within the hamper to quickly snap up, piercing his right eyeball.
The second case involved a 23-month-old who was injured by her Tinker Bell hamper. She was also hurt when the hamper's sharp-edged wire separated from its cloth covering and struck her in the right eye.
Study author Dr. Iris Kassem, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Eye and Ear Infirmary, said, "I was surprised that there were two eye injuries from the same type of hampers within one year at our hospital.”
Kassem provided treatment for both children, and because both received surgery quickly, it reduced their chances for permanent eye damage. She added that it's rare to see two similar incidents of deeply penetrating eye injuries linked to a common household item.
The findings, which appear online in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics, warn parents of the potential danger in their kids’ closets. Kassem hopes these cases will alert parents and pediatricians of the product’s possible risks. After having seen firsthand the damage caused by these cylindrical wire and cloth hampers, she advises parents to be aware of the integrity of the hamper's fabric. If it’s starting to fray, it should be thrown away immediately.