Shrink-wrap accidents

We had a guy come into our ER a couple of nights ago with a laceration on his hand that required 28 stitches. He told us he did while trying to open a package of cassettes with a sharp knife, which of course, slipped. It got me to thinking, how often does this happen? I too, have had my problems with the stuff, not being able to find a “start” and muttering to myself, “God, I hate shrinkwrap!” Is there an agency that regulates this and shouldn’t a manufacturer be required to provide a tab or something? Of course I know that a lot of stuff is packaged to be tamper-proof, but I mean damn! I think we all know by now not to buy a package if it looks like it’s been opened. BTW, a search on the above subject returned zilcho links, so I guess no one is tracking these kinds of accidents.


I don’t know of any specific agency. What does have me curious though, is wondering why if the knife was so sharp he had to apply enough force to make a 28-stitch cut to himself? It takes a special kind of person to not be able to easily use a tool to remove something as simple as shrink-wrap without almost killing himself. If the little tab is stuck down, just gently use a knife to cut through it somewhere and it is easily removed.

It takes any consumer. Forget the thin shrink-wraps, although they can be vexing. How about the thick clear vinyl-based blister packs that come surrounding everything from a Sony Walkman ® to a child’s toy. Almost ALL toys now come in these atrociously thick blister packs. If you attempt to tear them, you get cut. If you cut a corner and then rip, you get cut. If you cut them through with scissors, you get nicked AS YOU CUT with the scissors and your hand moves over the freshly cut edges.

If the nice people at Band-Aid wanted to increase profits, they coulda done it an easier way. ( No offense to the nice people at J&J). The shrink-wrapped stuff does always seem to have a pull-tab and strip…which promptly breaks off when you tug on it. :frowning: The thick vinyl blisterpacks have nothing, they assume you will be cutting them open.

And, they’re called accidents for a reason. I wouldn’t slam the patient too hard here. I’ve sliced open both fingertips at various times in my life, because X-Acto knives rode up a metal guide I was using as I sliced foam core. Accidents happen. This person must have been slicing VERY fast. :smiley:


The second part of this is of course a Great Debate about the appropriate role of government. Let’s keep this thread limited to the first question. Someone somewhere seems to track everything else that could potentially cause injury; is there a report on the frequency of shrink-wrap-induced injury?

What I want to know is why is it harder to open a music cd than it is to open a box of rat poison?

(please feel free to make some joke about how kids would do better with the rat poison than n’synch/brittiny/m&n/ here)

An ex-girlfriend’s daughter had a freaky shrink-wrap accident. She was trying to remove the wrapping off of a dictionary. She decided to use a screwdriver; regular or Phillip’s I know not. When the wrap gave way (quickly), the end of the screwdriver went right up her nostril!

My ex-GF freaked, as there was lots of blood. She got her daughter some ice and towels while trying to get together to take her to the ER. But by the time she was ready to go, it appeared that there was no emergency. She looked at her daughter’s nose. It was still bleeding, but no more than a normal bloody nose. She re-packed it with gauze and let it clot up.

Sure enough, there was no damage beyond a normal bloody nose. But of course, seeing a screwdriver up your child’s nose is bound to panic any parent.

hahahaha! Stupendous man gets my vote as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations!

I recently started
this thread about the sometimes irritating nature of packaging in general, and shrink-wrap in particular. The thread was a bit short-lived (aw, shame). However, I got one reply from someone whose Dad worked in the packaging industry, the gist being that the packaging isn’t stupid, the people are. Amazing, isn’t it?

What this (current) thread makes clear is that such packaging is not just irritating, it’s also potentially very dangerous. Good call Quasimodem.

Yeah, people are stupid, but that thick plastic blister packaging mentioned above is stupid too. I’ve actually broken scissors opening that stuff.

How are you supposed to do it? The only way I’ve been able to at all is to cut straight across with no regard to being able to repackage if the item inside is defective. That seems like it’s pretty dumb, but hey, it worked.