OnSafety is the Official Blog Site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here you'll find the latest safety information as well as important messages that will keep you and your family safe. We hope you'll visit often!

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Protect Your Family from Deadly Carbon Monoxide This Winter

It won’t be long before freezing weather and snow are here.

Icicle on roof and snow

Did you know that November, December, January and February are top months for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths in the United States?

 

 

home heater furnace

These are the primary months when consumers crank up their furnaces and portable heaters to stay warm. Nearly two-thirds of non-fire related CO deaths take place in those four cold weather months.

 

 

 

 

Portable gas generators are also used in the cold months because of power outages, due to snow and ice storms.

Generator scene

CPSC has joined with the National Fire Protection Association this year to warn consumers and firefighters about CO, which kills more than 400 people every year, according to the CDC. CO is called the invisible killer because you cannot see or smell it.

Here is what you can do to prevent CO from hurting your family:

  • Before using your chimney or turning on the furnace, get chimneys and fuel-burning appliances checked by a professional who services those items to make sure they are working correctly and vented to the outside properly.
  • Get a CO alarm. Better yet, install one on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.

CO alarm

  • If you already have CO alarms, make sure they are working properly. Have you changed the batteries this year? If not, replace the batteries.
  • Replace CO alarms every 5 years or as recommended by the manufacturer. Newer CO alarms have end of life indicators that beep when the alarm is at the end of its working life and needs to be replaced.
  • Never use a portable generator inside your house, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed or in a semi-enclosed space, such as a porch close to the house. Generators should be at least 20 feet away from the house when in use.

Freezing weather and snow in the winter are a fact of life. Don’t let CO take yours.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/10/protect-your-family-from-deadly-carbon-monoxide-this-winter/

The DIY Halloween

Blog en español

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving

Before you carve out the scariest jack-o’-lantern in the neighborhood, read CPSC’s tips to prevent nicks and cuts this Halloween. During October and November 2013, more than half of the estimated 4,400 Halloween-related injuries involved pumpkin carving.

  • Kid helpers can grab a spoon and scoop out the inside, or use a marker to trace the template, but leave the carving to the adults.
  • When the masterpiece is carved, consider inserting a battery-operated light rather than an open-flame candle.

Costume Creating

Has your little one requested to be a fairy with a long, flowing dress? Or is the request for a superhero with the best cape ever? Regardless of the type of costume you create this Halloween, CPSC urges you to begin crafting with safety in mind.

  • When selecting fabric, use bright colors of polyester or nylon. Natural fibers, such as cotton, can burn fairly quickly, if there is contact with an open flame.
  • Avoid baggy or oversized costumes. Many injuries last year involved trips and falls.Costume
  • Eye and nose holes in masks should allow for full visibility and adequate breathing. Makeup is a safer alternative.
  • If purchasing a costume, mask, beard or wig, look for the flame resistant label. Although that label doesn’t mean the product will not catch fire, it should extinguish quickly or resist burning.
  • Always use reflective tape as a trim for costumes and outerwear. A bright flashlight or glow stick can also help illuminate the trick-or-treaters.
  • If you plan to disguise your eyes with decorative contact lenses this Halloween, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns of serious eye damage. Follow the FDA’s safety tips to help prevent injury.

 Creative Decorating

Halloween Safety Tips

Lesson one for a Safe Haunted House is fire prevention. Prevent candle fires by substituting the open flame for battery-operated lights and glow sticks. Last year, CPSC received reports of fires involving Halloween-themed candles and a report of a house deemed a total loss after a decorative pumpkin went up in flames.

Lesson two is careful placement of decorations. To prevent falls, remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.

Lesson three, use CPSC’s ladder safety tips to prevent injuries while putting up or taking down decorations.

Lighting checklist:

  • For indoor décor, keep candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
  • Don’t overload extension cords.Halloween Decorations

Now that your costumes and decorations have been created and placed with safety in mind, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds you to take safe steps on Halloween night. Follow NHTSA’s pedestrian safety tips to help prevent injury.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/10/the-diy-halloween/

Press Event to announce the winners of CPSC’s Consumer Product Safety Apps Challenge

Safety APP_BlogU.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot Kaye will announce the winners of the first-ever Consumer Product Safety Apps Challenge at a press event on Monday, October 27.  CPSC challenged developers earlier this year to create apps to help consumers keep track of recalls and safety incidents. CPSC’s goal is to find new ways to reach consumers with lifesaving recall information and empower them to protect their families from dangerous products. The winners will demonstrate their innovative apps at the press event.

Monday, October 27, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. ET

U.S. CPSC
4330 East West Highway
4th floor Hearing Rm.
Bethesda, Md.  20814

The press event will also be webcast at www.cpsc.gov.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/10/press-event-to-announce-the-winners-of-cpscs-consumer-product-safety-apps-challenge/

Do Passengers Play a Role When an ATV Rolls?

Ever carried a passenger on a one-seater ATV or been a passenger on one? Ever been in a crash with a passenger on board or been a passenger in an ATV accident?

Researchers at CPSC know that carrying a passenger on a one-person ATV creates a hazard. We want to reduce this hazard, but CPSC needs your help. Our researchers want to know more about fatal and non-fatal ATV crashes and the role of passengers.

A recent CPSC study found interesting evidence about age, gender and location of ATV riders involved in reported, fatal ATV accidents. Although the study was not able to identify a significant relationship between the number of ATV passengers and the chances of overturning, the most conclusive finding was that more information is needed.

That is why we seek your input and have issued a request for information (RFI) to expand the data we have about passengers on ATVs.  The information you provide can help us as we try to determine how we might reduce ATV hazards.

You can find more details about the RFI and how to submit information at www.federalregister.gov. The comment period closes on November 24, 2014.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/10/do-passengers-play-a-role-when-an-atv-rolls/

Anchor It and Protect a Child

Blog en español

The Tragic Truth

In December 2012, we posted an OnSafety blog, warning of furniture, television and appliance-related tip-over incidents. At that time, CPSC reported nearly 350 deaths, most involving young children. Since then, more than 80 people have died when a dresser, TV, bookcase, table, appliance or other large item tipped over and fell on them. A new report from our staff indicates that 430 tragic deaths occurred between 2000 and 2013, and an estimated 38,000 annual injuries, many of which were serious, from 2011 through 2013.

In most of the incidents, a child was crushed by the product or struck on the head by the product. What is remarkable is the number of families who have turned tragedy into advocacy.  Jackie Collas, a Philadelphia-area resident, is using social media to honor her son, Curren, and encourage parents to anchor their furniture.  Lisa Seifert of Chicago created Shane’s Foundation to honor her precious son and to increase awareness, education and safety [www.shanesfoundation.org/SafetyInYourHome.html].

The Good News

anchor

By anchoring large furniture, televisions and appliances, these terrible tragedies can be prevented.  As we say at CPSC, “Anchor it and Protect a Child.”

An Internet search of “anti-tip brackets” resulted in dozens of inexpensive options for consumers to anchor furniture, televisions and appliances. Prices for the devices range in price from $5 to $20. These devices are easy to install and unobtrusive. Most anti-tip brackets have some type of quick-release feature that allows homeowners to move furniture temporarily for cleaning or other maintenance.

New furniture, TVs, and appliances often come with an anti-tip device. When making a purchase, ask your salesperson before you leave the store about how to anchor the item.

The Next Step

When you get the new items home, install anchoring devices right away. When installing a new TV, CPSC recommends that you anchor not only the TV, but also the stand, bureau or dresser on which the TV sits. Secure the TV to the base product, and secure the base product to the wall.

Now that your new TV is anchored, where are you going to put the old TV? According to our new study, about 45 percent of tip-over fatalities involving a television occur in bedrooms.

So, if you’re planning to move the old box television into your child’s bedroom or into the family room, consider that statistic—and then think, plan, and decide how to prevent a tip-over incident. Place the television on a base that is appropriate for the size, weight, and width of the television.  Anchor the television to the base and anchor both items to the wall to avoid a tip-over incident.

Children like to climb. In fact, about one-third of child fatalities involving a television occur when children climb onto the stand or dresser holding the TV. The children are often trying to reach a remote control, toy, juice box or some other item. Keep items like these, away from where children will try to climb and access them. If you have young children, the best idea may be to leave that old television on the floor.

Do you have a rental agreement or home design that prevents wall anchoring? Anchor the television to a low, sturdy base, as far back on the base as possible.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/09/anchor-it-and-protect-a-child/