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3 On Your Side: Laundry Hamper Hazard

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By Susan Barnett

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Gathering up your laundry in a clothes hamper shouldn’t be dangerous, but that everyday household item may be responsible for nearly blinding several children.

It’s another day of intensive eye exams and tests for 11-year-old Keon Reeves. Keon’s ophthalmologist describes his injury as devastating.

“The chance of him having good vision in the end is unlikely,” says Dr. Iris Kassem.

Images taken in her office show the damage that was done when the tip of a wire frame from a pop-up hamper slashed Keon’s eye.

“I was putting clothes in the basket and it popped out, like, real fast,” says Keon.

“He might never be able to drive,” adds his mother, Angela Neal.

“I just pray to God that I can see out the eye,” Keon says.

It’s a prayer that might be answered by a new special contact lens.

In the meantime, Neal has hired an attorney to sue for damages as a result of Keon’s injuries.

Michael Kedzie is Keon Reeve’s attorney.

“The fabric is so thin and the stitching is so inadequate that it allows the coil to just pop out,” explains Kedzie.

Twenty-three-month-old Jania Peete cut her eye when the wire frame of a pop-up hamper snapped loose.

The Peete family is also preparing a lawsuit.

“When I first saw Jania I thought, ‘Wow, this is a freak accident,’” says Dr. Kassem. “And then Keon comes in, and a light bulb immediately went off, and I said, ‘Oh no, I think this might be a pattern.’”

A third case of an eye injury to a four-year-old involving a pop-up hamper was recently settled for $665,000.

“I think it should be off the market, because I don’t want no one else to be hurt or in pain like I did,” Keon says.

Some brands of spring-tension hampers have a label warning to keep the item away from children and your face while opening them up.

The labels on the hampers show that they were made in China but do not include manufacturers’ names.

A spokesman with the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the CPSC has received one injury report from a wire-framed laundry hamper.

For more on the CPSC report, visit: www.Saferproducts.Gov/viewincident/1269084

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