Head's up! There could be a huge hazard waiting for you right now in your bathroom: Your glass shower door!
Glass experts and building inspectors say it can shatter into a thousand pieces without warning - and injure anyone who gets caught in the barrage of falling glass.
According to MSNBC, glass shower doors are often more attractive and usually stay cleaner than plastic shower curtains, but they're also more dangerous.
A Consumer Products Safety Commission report found that over 4,000 injuries a year are caused by glass shower or bathtub doors. Even though they're made of tempered safety glass that breaks into small squares - like a shattered car window - you'll end up with a big pile of sharp-edged glass chips that can slice into your bare feet and legs. The falling metal hardware can slice through arteries in your foot.
So, how can a shower door all-of-a-sudden shatter?
- Experts say it could happen if the door was incorrectly installed or if the rubber stoppers or runners on the bottom are damaged. The door can slip out of the hinges, or out of the track, when you open it.
- The glass door can also crack if it's mishandled - like if it's roughly opened or closed.
- A glass shower door can break, even if no one's in the bathroom! It's called a "spontaneous blow," and it can happen because the glass is tempered. During the heating process, the glass becomes more resistant to a direct impact - but much more susceptible to a side impact. A small side-edge fracture, say from slamming the door, can make the whole door crack to pieces hours or days later. That's why those chic frameless glass shower doors are even more dangerous.So, what can you do to keep your family safe?* Periodically check the hardware on your shower or bathtub doors to make sure the fasteners are secure.
- Inspect the glass for any chips or cracks, and pay special attention to the edges, and around the holes that accommodate screws or other hardware.
- Also, never use the shower door as a safety grip to get in or out of a shower or bathtub! You don't want to put any pressure on a glass door.