Keeping Pets and Children Safe from Paper Shredders

A common household product could prove dangerous to children and one’s beloved pet. Since many people are trying to protect themselves from potential identity theft, instead of simply manually tearing up important papers or documents, especially ones that may have credit card information and account numbers, bank statements, and old cancelled checks, people have purchased convenient paper shredders not realizing that they could be putting their children or pets at risk of serious injury or harm. If you’re looking to buy paper shredder then look checkout the site linked.

Paper shredders are nothing new and have actually been around for quite awhile. In fact the prototype was invented by A.A. Low in which his Waste Paper Receptacle was patented way back in 1908. However, it wasn’t until the further invention of a paper shredder by Adolf Ehinger in 1936 that their use began to be more commonly widespread. Since that time, paper shredders were predominantly used in government offices and banking firms to destroy any private information so important documents couldn’t fall into the wrong hands. Later, paper shredders were a common feature found in almost any office, not just governmental or financial.

The potential for any dangers from the use of paper shredders didn’t become evident until people decided to purchase these machines for home office use for those wishing to more adequately destroy personal papers to prevent identity theft. Typically, since all paper shredders where not originally designed with the idea that they would be used at one’s home, but rather an office, there was one factor that wasn’t taken into consideration in the design of these shredders that doesn’t exist in a regular office, that is, the presence of children or pets.

While many newer, and consequently more expensive paper shredders now have certain safety factors to prevent any potential dangers to both children and pets, the majority of paper shredders still being sold do not. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has since issued warnings about the use of shredders after receiving over fifty reports of children whose finger got caught in the blades of paper shredders, most with the result that these children had to have their fingers amputated. The greatest risk of children getting their fingers caught are those who are under the age of twelve where fingers are small enough to fit in the slot where the blades are.

Watching children while a paper shredder is in use is no guarantee either that their child will be safe, as evident of one story of where a woman, Lisa Broadfoot of Texas was allowing her young son help her shred some papers…In other words, she was right there when her child’s fingers got caught in the shredder. Ms. Broadfoot raced her son to the hospital, with her son’s fingers still stuck in the shredder, the result was that her son had to have three of his fingers amputated.

Pets are every bit at risk for serious potential harm with paper shredders. While there have been more horrific accounts of dogs at risk from shredders, cats can also fall victim to them as well. The most common scenario is that a dog, curious about the shredder, licks the top part of the shredder. If the shredder has been left on the automatic mode, this will activate to start the shredding process. Countless dogs have now been reported in getting their tongues caught in the shredder. The results are anywhere from the tip of the dog’s tongue being torn and mutilated, to the whole tongue being ground up, and in some cases, since a dog might panic will resort in biting its own tongue completely off to free itself from the shredder.

Cats aren’t immune either to the dangers. Since cats, for the most part are naturally smaller, cats can jump up and rest themselves on top of shredders and are often attracted by the warmth radiating from it. If the shredder has been left on, their fur can get caught in the blades, as well as their tails in which can lead to the tail’s mutilation.

To prevent any potential dangers to both children and/or pets common sense practices have to be utilized if one owns a paper shredder.

1). The most obvious and simplest practice to use when owning a paper shredder is to not only turn it off, but to unplug the machine when not in use.

2). Keep the automatic mode off so even if you are present and near the paper shredder, if a child or pet happens to be around they cannot trigger off the machine.

3). Never allow a child to use the shredder even if supervised. As in the case of Ms Broadfoot’s son, it didn’t save him from having his finger caught in the shredder.

4). While some recommend placing paper shredders above the height of a child, especially a toddler, this won’t keep you cat safe as cats can jump up. Just simply keep the shredder off and unplugged when not in use.

I for one refuse to use a paper shredder. Yes, they can be convenient for shredding up important papers but I would rather tear up papers manually. While I would naturally use precautions if I did own a paper shredder, I still wouldn’t want any potential risks or harm come to my two cats. To my mind, their safety is far more important.