Philips Lifeline issues pendants safety notice

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Philips says that it “has received several reports of incidents where a user’s pendant style neck cord became accidentally entangled, causing either injury or death.” The gist of the notice is that it asks their subscribers with pendant alarms that are designed not to break away if caught up on another object to report any problems to the FDA. The safety notice from Philips has the whiff of publicity stunt about it but maybe it’s just been put through the marketing department. Pendant style neck cord notice.


  1. Peter Shirley Caretech

    Neck cord safety issues

    Although the Philips article has a marketing slant it highlights a very real safety issue which Caretech recognised a number of years ago.

    The risk becomes even more acute when older users knot the pendant cord to make it shorter- often below any fitted break connector. The Caretech pendant is designed to provide dual insurance against potential chocking due to a neck cord becoming entangled or caught:

    1. The strain relief is not placed on the cord itself.

    2. The design incorporates two release mechanisms fitted where the cord attaches to the alarm button.

    If readers have concerns about existing pendant alarms and would like to know how to provide a safe solution contact us via or visit our website

  2. Donna Cusano

    Pendant neck cords and nighttime usage

    Speaking for marketers, I’d guess the press release was the marketing department making lemonade out of lemons. I’d think there was some problem that ginned the safety notice, which was then handed to PR to make…lemonade.

    Peter’s points are excellent and breakaway safety cords should be available. We do know that in two high-risk situations–the bedroom and the bathroom–the pendants aren’t worn because in bed the cord tightens uncomfortably around the neck, and they get wet in the bathroom. This leads to a lot of bedroom-bathroom falls where the pendant is sitting on the bedside end table or a bathroom cabinet!

    Another idea–a cord that can stretch (not like a rubber band, but has some give), is waterproof and somewhat decorative (especially for women)–or is clear to be less obtrusive. I wonder if this has been tried.

  3. Trevor Cradduck

    Neck cord issues
    It is most unfortunate that the risks associated with neck cords is not weighed against the obvious advantages of the Lifeline system. Surely the morbidity associated with the hazards of neck cords is minimal compared to the advantages of these alarm devices.

  4. John Hennock

    Neck cord issues

    When I first read this story I was bemused. I could not believe that neck cord pendants were being distributed in the US without a breakaway device. (This is one of the most highly litigious societies in the world.)

    I take Donna’s point about lemons being turned into lemonade, but the industry should have foreseen the problem and avoided ordering lemons in the first place.

    The situation in Europe is that the product standard mandates the inclusion of a breakaway device within any neck cord pendant, and the force that will cause it to break away. This has been the case since at least 2000 when the current standard was published and most products on the market prior to that date were compliant with the requirements in the standard. In making this point, I do not wish to take anything away from the Caretech product that Peter describes, which exceeds the requirement in the standard by providing two separate breakaway systems.

    To my mind the publication of this story raises questions about the standards for these products within the US.

  5. Steve Hards

    Philips cords: six cases of serious injury or death since 1998
    The lemons Philips’ PR wanted to convert to lemonade turn out to be six cases of serious injury or death since 1998, including three deaths in the U.S. and one in Canada, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 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. FDA announcement.

  6. Anthony I.

    Comparing Lifeline Systems And Just5 Phone

    [Another Just5 spam promotional comment removed. Save your time and don’t bother to post any more. We actively dislike companies like Just5 and Brickhouse Securities (see comment on this page) that pay people to post advertorial comments on websites. – Ed. Steve]