Safety Considerations with Chaise Lounges
Picture a person sitting on a chaise lounge at your community pool or on the beach. This person has been in the sun all day, and maybe had a few drinks. They reach behind themselves trying to adjust the chaise to a different position. They can't see their hands and they are doing it by feel, perhaps with their weight on the headrest, trying to move the ratchets (teeth) of the headrest into a different position.
Do you know that many people have lost fingers, or parts of fingers and/or have had broken bones, on old-style non-safety designed chaise lounges?
More often than you might imagine, they do one of two things:
They get their fingers caught between the back rail and the ratchet teeth, then fall back, potentially crushing or cutting off fingers. The key consideration here is that the ratchet teeth should not be sharp metal or broken plastic, and that it not be metal on metal. The solution is to have not sharp ratchet teeth, but make them flat and about 1/4" wide, and also to have a ratchet guard (can be a nylon or PVC sleeve, or vinyl wrap) on the back rail so that it is not sharp and is not metal on metal. They might get bruised, or even break a finger bone, but it isn't possible to cut their finger/s off on a properly designed, safe chaise.
Instead of getting their finger/s caught between the ratchet teeth and the back rail, they miss the back rail entirely and fall to the flat position. They frantically grab the frame of the chaise as the headrest comes down. Sometimes their fingers get caught between the headrest and the frame.
If the headrest is right next to the frame, and has no "Safety Rail" or 3/4" "Safety Space," we call this a paper-cutter. I have a name-brand chaise in my office now from a well known property which still has blood on it from such a loss. We didn't sell the chaise. I was actually called in as an insurance safety design expert, on behalf of the property. The ensuing lawsuit cost the property much money, but I'm sure it was less than it could have been, and it also targeted the manufacturer.
Then the property bought all new chaises from me, with a 3/4" Safety Space (considered the max) between the headrest and the body at the point where the headrest is bolted to the body, and a Safety Rail which is bent away from the headrest, allowing 2-3" of clearance beyond the bolt. They never had another injury.
These chaises are still out there. I recently saw them at a major water park. We see them pretty often at HOA's and condominiums.
This is a public service announcement. You are supposed to get up off the chaise, walk around and adjust the position, then lay back down. Most people don't do this, and if the chaise does not have modern safety features, a quick slip can and does result in serious, permanent injuries as well as significant lawsuits.
When laying on a chaise lounge with an adjustable headrest, you should use great care when you adjust the position of the headrest.. especially if it is unsafe to begin with. I look for Safety Rails and Safety Spaces between the headrest and the body. This is important.
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