NEW YORK — A new rule that requires woodworking cabinets to be safe for kids in their home is making it easier for families to save money.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is urging woodworkers to use safety brackets on their shelves to keep kids from touching the sharp edges.
“The safety of kids in the kitchen and bedroom is critical,” said Gary Kroll, who oversees the safety programs for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
In the kitchen, kids can get sharp objects and could fall on a sharp object or the floor.
If the kids touch the edge of a shelf or a sharp edge, it could lead to a serious injury, he said.
For example, if a kid accidentally picks up a sharp knife and scratches their face, that could cause permanent brain damage, he added.
Safety brackets allow a child to keep the shelf straight and secure against the sharp edge.
But, they can also become a hazard for other kids who might get tangled or fall.
That’s because the bracket can be pulled away and it could pull a kid out of the safe area, he explained.
With the new rule, kids who have an older sibling, another child or another family member can pick up the brackets and use them in the safety area.
It’s the first time that USDA has asked cabinet makers to use brackets to keep children safe.
Many people have asked what can I do to keep my kids safe from the sharp corners and sharp edges?
First, put the safety brackets right up against the edge and don’t pull them out.
You can also secure them with tape or rubber bands that attach to the brackets.
And don’t forget to wash and dry the wood with a mild soap and water, he stressed.
A new rule is also helping manufacturers of woodworking tools to install brackets on woodworking shelves, he noted.
This rule means you can now purchase a bracket for a cabinet from a manufacturer that has installed safety brackets.
The rules are effective April 1.