Clothes Hamper Blamed For Serious Injuries

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Sorting laundry shouldn’t be dangerous, but one type of clothes hamper has left at least three children scarred for life.

11-year-old Keon Reeve is one of those kids. His eye was slashed when the wire frame of a collapsible hamper poked through the fabric. “I was putting clothes in the basket and it popped out, like real fast,” he explained.

Ophthalmologist Dr. Iris Kassem calls the injury devastating. “The chance of him having good vision in the end is unlikely,” she said. Dr. Kassem hopes the use of a special contact lens will eventually restore some of the vision in Keon’s damaged eye.

This was not an isolated incident. 23-month-old Jania Peet cut her eye when the wire frame of her hamper snapped loose. Dr. Kassem treated both children. “When I first saw Jania, I thought, wow this is a freak accident. What bad luck she had. Then Keon comes in and a light bulb immediately went off and I said, ‘Oh no, I think this might be a pattern,” Kassem said.

There was a third case of an eye injury to a four-year-old involving a pop-up hamper. That case was recently settled for $665,000.

Keon wants other families to be aware of the danger. “I think it should be off the market because I don’t want no one else to be hurt or in pain like I did,” he said.

Some brands of spring-tension hampers have a warning to keep them away from children and your face while opening them. A spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the agency has no standards for this type of product, but the CPSC will look into these cases.

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