Hinges are a type of hardware used to hang and swing a door, or the lid of a trunk. While standard hinges operate effectively in a large number of applications, some projects may require special safety hinges to reduce the risk of injury. Safety hinges are particularly popular in doors or lids that will be exposed to children, the elderly, or those with physical or mental health conditions.
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According to Consumer Reports, the federal government requires special slow-closing hinges on all toy chests sold in the U.S. These special safety hinges hold the lid of the chest open so that the child can access the contents. The hinges prevent the lid from accidentally closing on the child, which can lead to severe injury. Slow-closing safety hinges require the user to apply manual force to the lid in order to close it, and even with this applied force, the hinge mechanism closes the lid in a slow, controlled manner.
Any trunk or chest in the home can benefit from these slow-closing safety hinges. Heirloom chests and storage trunks pose similar injury risks to those associated with toy boxes, and should be equipped with slow-closing hinges for safety.
Edge-Mounted Continuous Hinges
A standard hinge consists of two metal leaves that interconnect to form a knuckle, or butt. When these hinges are used on a door, a child's fingers can easily get trapped between the two leaves as the door closes. To prevent this type of injury, builders may use edge-mounted continuous hinges. In an edge-mounted hinge, the leaves are different sizes and the butt or knuckle is offset away from the intersection of the two leaves. When the door closes, this leaves a U-shaped gap between the two leaves, minimising the risk of crushed or injured fingers. These hinges run continuously along the entire length of the door and frame. Because of the offset knuckle, this type of hinge configuration can only be used on a cased opening, not on a standard door frame with a built-in stop.
Edge-mounted hinges are commonly found in schools, nursing homes and other facilities that house children or the elderly.
The average butt hinge features a flat tip that extends out away from the edge of the door and frame when the door is closed. In mental health facilities or prisons, occupants may use the tip of a butt hinge to hang a ligature in an effort to commit suicide. In these types of facilities, builders often install anti-ligature safety hinges. These devices feature a sloped or rounded tip that makes it virtually impossible for occupants to commit self-injury using the tip of the hinge.
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