Blender injuries stir up more visits to the emergency room

Consumer Reports News: February 08, 2013 12:08 PM

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Earlier this week, the Consumer Reports TV crew was filming a segment on blenders, detailing the results of our recently updated Ratings of nearly 60 models. Our cameraman got too close to one of the blender blades and gave his thumb a pretty good gash. He's not alone. More than 7,000 people were injured by blenders in 2011, based on emergency-room treated injuries reported to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The number has tripled in the last decade as blenders continue to gain in popularity.

The vast majority of injuries involve lacerations to a finger, with people coming into contact with a blender blade while operating or cleaning their machine. While young children and the elderly are sometimes hurt, the largest age group to sustain injuries is the 25 to 44 cohort. Think harried parents rushing to get dinner on the table, young professionals scrambling to make their morning smoothie, and yes, reveling twenty-somethings whipping up another round of margaritas.

Whatever your age, here are six safety reminders that will help you enjoy your blender without ending up a statistic.

  • Never put your hand inside a blender, especially if it's plugged in. Unlike food processors, most blenders don't have safety interlocks, so you could accidentally turn the unit on with your hand inside.
  • Avoid sticking utensils into a running blender. If you need to scrape down the sides with a spatula or spoon, turn off the blender before doing so.
  • Instead of hand washing, add soapy water and run the blender until the container and blades are clean. Then unplug it and rinse the container under the faucet.
  • Use a utensil, and not you fingers, to dislodge food from the blade or blade guard of a standard immersion blender, making sure to first unplug the device.
  • To reduce the risk of electrical shock, never submerge the power cord, power plug, or motor of any blender in water or other liquid.
  • Unplug the blender when not in use, and keep the power cord out of reach of young children, since some accidents occur when blenders are pulled off the edge of a counter.

To find out which blenders performed best in our tests, making superb icy drinks and purees, as well as crushing ice cubes into light fluffy snow and surviving our tough durability test, check our blender Ratings. Models from Blendtec, Breville, KitchenAid, Ninja, and Vitamix, among others, earned a spot on our recommended list.

Daniel DiClerico

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