Rare accident reminds DCs of the need for safety precautions

Child in chiropractors office
Having a supervised play area for children can prevent accidents

It was one of the rarest accidents ever recorded in a chiropractic practice and one of the saddest as well. An 18-month-old boy apparently crawled under an electric powered therapy table at a chiropractic office in Shoreview, Minn., last month.

Investigators guess that he somehow hit a button on the foot pedal, which lowered the 315-pound table onto him. His mother was strapped onto the table at the time and didn’t see him until the table descended.

Despite frantic attempts by the staff members of the office to raise the table off the boy, the mechanism wouldn’t work. They even tried lifting it off him by hand, but to no avail.

Finally, after several failed attempts, the motor engaged and the table lifted. But it was too late – the child died of traumatic head injuries shortly after arriving at the local hospital.

The table was a Triton DTS TRT-600 traction system with no known reported problems prior to this accident.

The table’s user guide warns that the system “should be kept out of the reach of children” and states that doctors should “not allow any unsupervised patient access to the traction table.” A danger section also warns to “not allow any person, object or device to be under the table while the table is in operation.”

The case is a tragic reminder that dangers exist whenever there are heavy, powerful pieces of equipment like this. We must be constantly vigilant, especially where children are involved. When parents are undergoing treatment, they cannot properly supervise their children, so that task falls to the office staff.

Having a separate  “kid’s play area” – with proper supervision under the watchful eye of a staff member – is one way to ensure no child is put at risk in your office.

The child’s family has set up a memorial fund at www.newtonfamilyfund.com for anyone who wishes to make a donation.