Packaging: bad for your health

Hmm, I’ve not seen this at work in the ED (though I have injured myself at home with similar problems, so I won’t say it doesn’t happen. 


Ho ho woes: Wrap rage results in lacerations and bad tempers

Emergency department doctors report that thousands get medical attention annually for wounds related to packaging.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott, AMNews staff. Dec. 22, 2008.

amednews.comImages of colorfully wrapped presents under a Christmas tree are not supposed to trigger feelings of frustration and risks of possible injury. But trends in the packaging of many popular gifts have been diagnosed as the cause of this scenario — what sometimes is called "wrap rage."

The real culprit, of course, is the "clamshell" or "oyster" packaging that encases many toys, electronics and other products. These hard plastic containers have emerged as a favorite of manufacturers and retailers because they protect items during shipping and prevent theft from store shelves, while still allowing shoppers to see what they are buying. The problem for consumers, though, is that these coverings are intensely difficult to remove — often requiring tools, muscle and swearing. Sometimes the experience results in a trip to the hospital.

Get a package opener (I have one, and it works terribly well).


  1. Trauma shears work great for that kind of packaging.

  2. Just get a S3 or S4 safety box cutter – the kind that are used by all major warehouses and retailers. You can open boxes and even “clamshells” without even exposing the blade.
    If you insert the flange where the two halves of the package are welded (melted) together between the blade and the thumb guard, you can slice the seam (and not your fingers) open all the way around just like cutting the top off a box. It’s not quite as easy or safe as using it on a box (and I suggest you practice on boxes first, if you’ve never used one), but it beats hacking into the package with scissors or a utility knife. And for any of you medical professionals who were even thinking of using a kitchen knife, I hope I don’t ever end up in your ED when the only tool you have is a chain-saw;-)
    You can probably get them at Office Max or Staples.


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  3. […] my hands from opening presents out of those clamshell packages. Should have paid more attention to GruntDoc. I also pulled out a small but significant portion of my hair trying to unwrap and then assemble […]