Avoid an expensive emergency room visit. Send your coffee table to live somewhere else until your children are into their teens, suggests the NY Times See: NY Times, Thursday, December 30, 2010, page D1, Michael Tortorello "There’s Danger Lurking"
Last year, 143,700 children age 5 and younger visited emergency rooms after table accidents, according to estimates fromt he United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Coffee tables, in particular, turn up in more than a quarter of the accident reports, in the commission’s sample count.
The safety commission recommends that parents install foam bumpers on the edges.
The 12 month old is the most dangerous. When they start walking, they fall once in every 50 steps, after three months its once in every 150 steps, says Dr. Karen Adolph a developmental psychologist at New York University and a researcher on infant locomotion.
Bruce Hanna, a professor of industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a writer on accessible, or universal, design, says that a coffe table is like a deadly weapon in your home.
He says that the way manufacturing works, it is cheapera and easier to make an especially dangerous coffee table.
Table saws like cutting out square or rectangle type shapes. Most manufacturers start with chipboard, and the apply a veneer. It is difficult to wrap a wood veneer around a "safer" rounded edge, so you end up with square edges.
Glass coffee tables are the worst. Glass is hard to see. A faceted cut in the glass creates a kind of "broken" double edge, a detail that seems designed for maximum bloodletting.