Coat hooks have been a danger to school-aged children and have caused a number of deaths since the 1800?s. In some of the more recent cases, the children were just playing and didn?t even know their games could result in death or pain. These injuries and deaths were and still are preventable. The solution is the HenkelHook?, which has been created to prevent children from unintentionally getting hurt from something they are exposed to everyday, coat hooks! These hooks go above and beyond the regular call of duty as they not only hold coats, bags and other clothing, but they only support 26 pounds (11.8 kg) of weight. The importance of this is if a child is hung on the hook, it will automatically release allowing the child to be out of harm?s way.
The mission behind this hook started over a decade ago, in 1998 when Becky Regier was sitting in her home and read a story about a Chatham, Ontario boy named Myles Neuts. Neuts was found unconscious hanging on a coat hook in his school washroom and tragically died six days later. After reading about this story Regier began to put the wheels in motion. It wasn?t until April 2004, after Tallon Moffat was found hanging on a coat hook in a school in London, Ontario that the creation process began. Although Tallon was rescued by a teacher who noticed she was missing before it was too late, her parents were very concerned and felt the only option they had was to pull their children from the school, despite their love for it. Moffat and Neuts were not the only children to have been endangered by coat hooks, there have been several other cases. At this point, the only solution that was reached was to pull out all the coat hooks in schools. This solution seemed impractical as it created issues pertaining to personal hygiene and the practicality of where children place their backpacks or coats when they are in the washroom or indoors during school hours. Also, it is important to remember that coat hooks are not just a danger to students in the washroom or unsupervised areas of the school, but rather all areas. What they needed was a hook, but not just any hook. They needed the ?HenkelHook?.?
To create the ideal product that could be sold to schools in order to promote safety and avoid danger, Regier enlisted the assistance of her father, Jim Henkel, now president of the London-based company and the hook?s inventor. Although Henkel is an accountant by profession, he has always had an interest in engineering. At first Henkel was hesitant as he assumed many other larger companies could create the hook much faster than he could. But, with that speed came a price far too expensive for any school to afford. Regier went back to her father and requested once again that he be the inventor of this hook and he finally agreed. The HenkelHook? was completed and launched in August 2005 and is now patented in the US and pending in Canada.
When creating the hook, Henkel wanted it to be inexpensive, strong, tamper proof and able to release at a certain weight and then have the ability to re-set after being released. The hook incorporates two rare earth magnets called permanent magnets and the fixture is made of polycarbonate ? a high strength plastic used in bullet-proof shielding, making it almost impossible to break. This hook is best installed where children or elderly people are not under constant supervision; however, it could be used anywhere as coat hooks have the ability to cause danger wherever they are located. The HenkelHook is designed to support coats, backpacks, purses and other articles weighing up to 26 lb (+/- 2 lb) (11.8 kg +/? 0.9 kg) in areas where safety and hygiene are of concern. When the weight limit is exceeded the hook automatically releases and the article hung falls from the hook to the floor. The HenkelHook? will then automatically reset in the upright position.
Since its launch in 2005, Reiger has worked tirelessly to contact every school board in Canada about the dangers of coat hooks and the benefits of the HenkelHook?. She is currently working with 22 school boards across Canada to implement the hook into their schools.
Regier has also teamed up with Myles Neuts? father, Mike to launch the ?Coat Hooks Are for Coats, Not Kids? campaign and the ?Safety Hook? fundraising campaign for schools to raise further awareness of the danger of coat hooks.
Coat hooks are a household item most people see to be practical and non-threatening but in reality they have the power to be exactly the opposite and can cause many life-threatening risks and injuries. This is why it is comforting to know that a preventable solution is finally available.