Americans are being urged to stop using any of 285,000 adult portable bed rails after the deaths of at least three people who suffocated after becoming caught in one of 10 models of the product.
The bed rails were manufactured and sold by Mobility Transfer Systems from 1992 to 2021 and by Metal Tubing USA in 2021 and 2022, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday. Neither company has agreed to recall the beds or offer a remedy to consumers, according to the agency.
At least three people died after becoming entrapped in the products, including a 78-year-old woman in a Michigan assisted-living facility in 2006, an 85-year-old man in an Oklahoma nursing home in 2007 and a 90-year-old disabled woman in California in 2013.
The bed rails were sold at Walmart.com, Amazon.com, MTSMedicalSupply.com, VitalityMedical.com, Alimed.com and other online retailers for roughly $30 to $170. The products have also been found for sale on second-hand sites, such as eBay.com.
The CPSC urged consumers to stop using, disassemble and dispose of the following bed rails, which are made of white or chrome metal tubing and have the name "Mobility Transfer Systems" and the model number printed on a label on the grip handle:
- Freedom Grip (model 501)
- Freedom Grip Plus (model 502)
- Freedom Grip Travel (model 505)
- Reversible Slant Rail (model 600)
- Transfer Handle (model 2025)
- Easy Adjustable (model 2500)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail, single-sided (model 5075)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail – Extra Tall, single-sided (model 5075T)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail, double-sided (model 5085)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail – Extra Tall, double-sided (model 5085T)
While the safety agency's warning is specific to 10 models, the CPSC in March agreed to begin looking at creating rules to address the risk posed by adult portable bed rails. Such products "have trapped and strangled older adults at alarming rates," Rich Trumka Jr., a CPSC commissioner, said in a statement.
More than 60 public health groups petitioned the commission to make the move, with at least 129 people killed by the products in the time since the request was submitted and then granted, he stated.
While U.S. regulators and legislators have successfully banned potentially deadly infant-sleep products, bed rails and bed handles that have killed hundreds of mostly elderly Americans remain on the market.
Often purchased for sick or frail older people, the side rails or metal bars are used on hospital beds and in home care with the idea of helping patients pull themselves up or to keep them from falling out of bed.
But despite being sold as safety devices, they've shown to be the opposite for many. Two manufacturers in December announced adult portable bed rails linked to four deaths of elderly Americans.
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