Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

FDA Warning on Lifeline Emergency Alert Pendants

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Emergency alert pendants that hang from the neck could pose a deathly choking hazard, the FDA warned this week.  The FDA said it is aware of at least six reports between 1998 and 2009 of serious injury or death, including three deaths in the United States and one in Canada, from choking after the cord on the Philips Lifeline Personal Help Button became entangled on other objects worn around the neck .

There are more than 750,000 users of this advice known as the Philips Lifeline Personal Help Button, the FDA said. 

Philips Lifeline is currently sending letters to its 750,000 customers and has changed the labeling of this product to include a warning against the potential choking hazard.

The FDA recommends that users consult their health care providers to determine which style of emergency button, including those that are worn on the wrist, is most beneficial for them.

These widely used devices provide critical and immediate access to emergency care for those at risk of falls or who may be more likely to need outside assistance. FDA said that while the number of adverse events reported is small compared to the number of people who use this device, the severity of these events is of concern. It remains important that users, along with their health care providers, assess the options provided by each style of button, and choose the option that best fits their condition.

While the numbers aren’t big, this is just the type of service many of us in the middle count on for peace of mind for aging parents.  So if you have an aging  parent or loved one who uses this pendant, check out alternative styles that might be just as effective and provide peace of mind.


Written by Laura Rossman

September 24, 2009 at 8:07 pm

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