broken coffee table glassGlass coffee tables look modern and stylish and can help to make a small room appear larger. However one key element to consider when purchasing a glass coffee table, and one that is frequently overlooked, is the issue of safety.Many people assume that just because an article is on sale it must be safe. Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case as there are currently no specific requirements for glass furniture in the US. For this reason it is vital that householders themselves thoroughly investigate the safety of any purchases they are making.

This is a particularly important consideration in households with small children or frail or elderly members. However just because your household has no members that fall into these categories does not mean that safety is not relevant to you; noone is immune to the dangers that a glass coffee table can pose if not selected carefully.

The key safety consideration is that kind of glass that a table is made from. Regular glass when broken can shatter into large numbers of irregular shards some of which can be of a  size and shape that can easily pierce the body. By contrast tempered glass ( a kind of glass that has been heat treated to toughen it) breaks into small regular cube shaped pieces when shattered. Whilst it is still possible that these could cause injury they are far less likely to the shards created by breaking regular glass.

It is very difficult to spot the difference between tempered and regular glass by eye. For this reason you should not only ask the shop assistant what type of glass a piece of furniture is made from, but you should also request proof; retailers have been known to make mistakes. Tempered glass cannot be cut to size or altered once it is treated and for this reason it is generally more expensive. The safety benefits however make this  money very well spent.

Many people weigh the additional financial costs of tempered glass against the likelihood of breakage and conclude that it is not worth spending the additional money for something that is unlikely to happen anyway. However, absentmindedly sitting on the glass, dropping a heavy item onto the surface, a small child hitting the glass surface with a heavy metal truck are all examples of how a glass coffee table could easily be shattered.

Although looks, design and functionality are all important when choosing a glass coffee table, your number one priority should always be the safety of yourself and your family.