Most kitchens contain a countertop and overhead cabinets. The doors on these cabinets generally swing open.
An unlucky individual may stand up underneath one of these open cabinet doors and injure themselves on the edge.
Although this situation may seem unlikely, it can arise when a person bends over to pick up something that has fallen onto the kitchen floor (Figure 1).
A few potential fixes are immediately obvious:
- Cabinet doors could be removed entirely. They are generally only there for aesthetic purposes anyway!
- Sliding doors could be used. However, this usually means that only half of the cabinets can be open at one time, and sliding doors have their own issues.
- The edges of each cabinet door could be padded with foam. This would reduce cabinet-collision injury.
- Each cabinet door could be constructed out of gingerbread, so that it would safely crumble away upon contact with a person’s head.
Each of these fixes has some downsides. But the ultimate solution is both durable and visually indistinguishable from a regular cabinet: a “multi-panel safety door” in which multiple pieces of wood are loosely connected by springs (Figure 2).
If a person hits their head one one of the panels, they’ll just feel a slight amount of force as the spring compresses (and the piece of wood is pushed out of the way).
After I patent this idea, you should amend your city’s residential building code to mandate this style of cabinet door. It’s the only safe option!
PROS: Reduces accidental kitchen decapitations, thus saving health care costs.
CONS: These complicated doors would probably require occasional maintenance.