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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Liquid Laundry Packets: An Update

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single-use liquid laundry packetsAbout a year and a half ago, we began warning you about dangers connected to single-load liquid laundry packets. These packets are filled with highly concentrated, toxic chemicals. A 7-month-old in Florida died from swallowing the soap.

CPSC has received about 1,230 reports of children unintentionally injuring themselves with packets. Injuries include swallowing the detergent and getting the chemical in their eyes or on their skin. The Poison Help Line reports even more: Nearly 17,500.

Several companies that make these packets—Cot ‘n Wash, Dial, Procter & Gamble, and Sun Products—have agreed to make some changes to begin addressing these safety concerns. We want you to know about these changes, as CPSC was a driving force in making them happen. Importantly, though, we believe more must be done, and we’re continuing to call on companies to build more safety into these products more quickly and more robustly.

child warning label that appears on packages.Here are some of the changes so far:

Safety standards: Makers and sellers of laundry packets have come together, along with consumer advocates and CPSC staff, to start the process of creating a voluntary consensus standard. ASTM International, a standards setting organization, is overseeing this process. The goal is for all of the members to work together, as quickly as possible, to craft a strong safety standard that meaningfully protects children from these products.

Opaque packaging: Part of the allure of these packets for young children is that they can look like familiar items such as candy, toys and teething products. Companies have changed the containers that hold the packets to be opaque.

Labels and Warnings: “Keep Out of Reach of Children” and “Keep Contents Out of Eyes” safety warning stickers and graphics have been placed in multiple places on the containers. Also, look for posters and other warnings near laundry packets in stores. Warning labels alone are not the answer, but are part of a larger system of safety.

In addition, companies are researching a switch to containers that are more difficult for children to open. Safety latches—both on containers and on cabinets—can be a deterrent to children getting access to these packets. As with all household cleaning products, make sure to keep these packets tightly closed in the original containers and out of sight and out of reach of young children.

These companies also report that they are researching chemical formulations of the laundry detergent in the packets, with the goal to find formulations that remain effective, but are less toxic.

Our hope is that these first steps for these products make them safer and that all companies that make liquid laundry packets will join these safety efforts.

Follow these safety tips if you use these products in your home:

  • Do not let children handle laundry packets
  • Do not puncture or take packets apart
  • Do not leave loose packets around – keep them stored securely in the container
  • Store out of a child’s sight and reach in their original containers
  • Keep containers closed and dry
  • Read and follow package warnings and instructions

Remember, these packets can quickly dissolve upon contact with water, wet hands and saliva. They can also rupture, releasing the chemicals into eyes. If you or your child swallows or is exposed to these chemicals, call Poison Help immediately at (800) 222-1222.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/03/update-liquid-laundry-packets/

CPSC Infographic: Portable Generator-Related Deaths

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This infographic is also posted on CPSC’s Flickr page for easy sharing.

portable generator death information

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/cpsc-infographic-portable-generator-related-deaths/

Safeguard Your Home from Emerging Poisoning Risks

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While kids getting into bottles of pain medicine remains a leading cause of poisonings, new and different serious risks have emerged.

Laundry_PacketsNew single-load liquid laundry packets look like candy, toys or teethers, but they are dangerous for children. This isn’t the liquid laundry detergent from your childhood. These packets are filled with highly concentrated, toxic chemicals. Wet hands, water and saliva can quickly dissolve these packets, releasing the chemicals.

In 2012, CPSC staff learned of more than 500 incidents involving children and adults who were injured by these packets. If you use these packets in your home, always handle them with dry hands and keep them out of sight and reach of children. CPSC is encouraged that the manufacturers of laundry packets are developing improved warning labels, making their product packaging less attractive to children, and have committed to implement a comprehensive consumer awareness campaign.  However, CPSC seeks additional design changes to all types of packages containing laundry packets that will make individual packets less accessible to children. You should start seeing safety alerts in stores soon that alert you to important laundry packet safety concerns.

coin- or button-sized batteriesIf you have any type of electronics in your home, you likely have coin- or button-sized batteries.  They are in remote controls, electronic games, toys, musical cards, hearing aids and other common electronic products. These small batteries pack a powerful —and deadly—punch. These batteries can cause life-threatening chemical burns inside the body in as little as two hours. Incidents often involve children younger than 4 and senior adults. Even completely dead batteries have enough residual power left in them to cause serious injuries.

While improvements are in the works to prevent people from suffering burn injuries if they ingest a battery, please take immediate steps to safeguard your children right now do the following:

  • Check your electronics’ battery compartments and tighten with a screw.
  • For battery compartments that do not use a screw, try securing them with strong tape.
  •  Put any item with an unsecured button battery up and out of both the sight and reach of a child.
  • When the batteries die, make sure to throw them out in a way that children can’t retrieve them.
  • Also, make sure to buy the correct-size replacement battery so you don’t have any batteries lying around that you don’t need.
  • Finally, don’t store a remote control on top of un-anchored televisions or furniture. That creates a different, significant hazard of TV tipovers for your child.

CPSC is encouraged that the coin and button cell industry is developing more secure packaging and taking additional steps to try to keep the products away from young children. However, CPSC is looking to see design changes that eliminate the serious chemical burn injuries that often occur upon ingestion.

Here are other poison prevention tips, which can help you provide a safe environment for your children to explore.

  1. Keep medicines and household chemicals in their original, child-resistant containers.
  2. Store potentially hazardous substances up and out of a child’s sight and reach.
  3. Keep the national Poison Help Line number, 800-222-1222, handy in case of a poison emergency.
  4. When hazardous products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even if it means you must take them along when answering the phone or doorbell.
  5. Leave the original labels on all products, and read the labels before using the products.
  6. Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicine so you can see that you are administering the proper medicine, and be sure to check the dosage every time.
  7. Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as “medicine,” not “candy.”
  8. Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of unneeded and outdated medicines.
  9. Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where children can reach them. Lamp oil can be very toxic if ingested by children.

If you have a poison emergency, call the national Poison Help Line at (800) 222-1222.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2013/03/safeguard-your-home-from-emerging-poisoning-risks/

Recall: Safety 1st Cabinet Locks

Look closely at the locks you put on your cabinets to keep your children out. Do they look like this?

Recalled Safety 1st Push 'N Snap Cabinet Locks

If so, you should keep reading. The Safety 1st Push ‘N Snap Cabinet Locks are being recalled because young children can open the locks and get access to the cabinets.

Dorel Juvenile Group, the company that imports these locks, has received 200 reports of locks that did not adequately secure cabinets or were damaged. Three children who got into the cabinets swallowed or handled dishwasher detergent, window cleaner or oven cleaner and were observed and released from emergency treatment centers.

You can find detailed information on how to identify the recalled locks here.

Stop relying on these recalled locks to keep children out of cabinets immediately and contact the company at www.djgusa.com or toll-free at (866) 762-3212 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday for a free replacement lock. While you are waiting for a free replacement lock, immediately store dangerous items out of reach of children.

Similar Recalls:

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/03/recall-safety-1st-cabinet-locks/

50 Years of Preventing Poisoning

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birthday cake with 50 candle1962 was the year that “The Beverly Hillbillies” first made it onto our TV screens. The Beatles released their first single. A dozen eggs cost 32 cents. And 400 children died each year from accidental poisoning.

This week is Poison Prevention Week’s 50th birthday. Like we often do on birthdays, it’s time to reflect on where we are today.

So — where are we?

In the past 50 years, there has been a 92 percent decline in child poisoning deaths. More than 400 children died each year from poisonings 50 years ago. Today, about 36 children die each year.  boy opening medicine bottles Poison control centers report that the most common poisons for children are cosmetics and personal care products, pain medicines and cleaning substances. More than 4 million Americans call a Poison Control Center on the national toll-free hotline (800) 222-1222 each year. And a dozen eggs costs about $2.50.

You might not think the price of eggs is worth celebrating, but the progress made in preventing unintentional poisoning definitely is.

Help us to do even better during the next 50 years. Take a look at these easy steps you can take to prevent unintentional child poisoning. Poison prevention starts with you.

Happy birthday, Poison Prevention Week!

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/03/50-years-of-preventing-poisoning/