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!


Beware of Those Tiny Batteries

Look at that flashlight lying on the kitchen counter. Or the remote control next to the TV. Or the scale in your bathroom. These and hundreds of other products in homes are powered by coin-sized batteries, called “button batteries.”

As batteries are shrinking and becoming more powerful, the number of battery-related incidents resulting in severe injury and death is increasing. A recent study conducted by Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Center found that button battery-related incidents have increased sevenfold since 1985.

Incidents often involve children younger than 4 and senior adults. In most cases, children have picked up exposed batteries or gotten the batteries from games, toys, calculators, remote controls and other items left within a child’s reach. Often, parents don’t know that a child swallowed the battery. Or senior adults have swallowed button batteries used in hearing aids after mistaking them for pills.

Occasionally, a swallowed battery will pass through the intestine. Other times, the battery becomes lodged in the throat or intestine. The button battery can cause chemical burns in as little as two hours.

The majority of reported incidents involve 20 mm diameter or larger, 3 volt batteries like this:

More than 60 percent of reported incidents are initially misdiagnosed. Symptoms resemble ailments common in children, such as an upset stomach and fever. In some incidents there were no symptoms.

CPSC recommends the following steps to prevent unintentional battery ingestion:

  • Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child’s reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Tape may be used to help secure the battery compartment.
  • Keep button batteries out of your child’s reach. Discard button batteries carefully.
  • Do not allow children to play with button batteries.
  • Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason; they are slippery and easily swallowed accidentally.
  • Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.
  • Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/03/beware-of-those-tiny-batteries/

Evite un Envenenamiento

Blog in English

Mire este video. Aprenda los consejos de seguridad. Salve una vida.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/03/evite-un-envenenamiento/

Prevent a Poisoning

Blog en Español

Watch this video. Get the tips. Save a life.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/03/prevent-a-poisoning/

We Have a Winner!

Our first-ever poster contest for middle school students was a huge success! Congratulations to Trachell from Hawaii, who won the grand prize for the following poster:

CO Contest Winner

Grand Prize Winning Poster: Designed by 8th grader Trachell from Hawaii

Out of the nearly 450 entries submitted in the contest, CPSC judges chose nine finalists. The judging was based on CO safety message, visual appeal and design originality. Each finalist receives $250. The grand prize winner receives an additional $500.

Here are all the finalist posters:

To see all the posters that were submitted, go to www.challenge.gov/CPSC

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/03/we-have-a-winner/

SaferProducts Is Born!

CPSC is proud to be taking part this year in National Consumer Protection Week. This week you’ll see a coordinated campaign at NCPW.gov that encourages you – consumers – nationwide to take full advantage of your rights and make better-informed decisions.

Making informed decisions is what SaferProducts.gov is all about.

Today, CPSC is launching the first consumer product database of its kind.

This database starts with YOU!

Come to SaferProducts.gov. Tell us about safety problems you have experienced with a consumer product. We’re not talking about a product you just don’t like – the slow computer or noisy freezer. Instead, maybe the electric cord on one of your countertop appliances began to melt and smoke during use. Maybe your toddler pulled a small piece off a toy that could be a choking hazard. Maybe you have a power tool with a trigger that gets stuck, preventing the tool from stopping after you have released the trigger.

Here’s how SaferProducts.gov works:

If you experience a safety problem with a consumer product, you should go to www.SaferProducts.gov and click on the button “Report an Unsafe Product.” You fill out an easy to use, interactive form, telling us about the product and what happened. The more details you give us, the better. The form takes about 10 minutes to complete. Before you submit your report, you will be asked whether you want your report to be published on SaferProducts.gov. You will also be asked to verify that your report is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.

If you say “yes” and submit all of the required information, your report will be put in the queue to appear online for anyone to see. First, we’ll send your report to the product’s manufacturer or private labeler so they can review it and comment on it. Then, in most cases, your report will be published online 10 days after we send it to the business.

Through SaferProducts.gov, you can look up any product you have at home or are thinking of buying. You can see if others reported safety concerns about a product. You can see the manufacturer’s response. The first reports that come in on March 11 should be visible by early April.

Information is power. And this information empowers you. This open access to product safety information puts the power into your hands to make safer choices for your family.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/03/saferproducts-is-born/