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 Young Children from Burns on Glass Fronts of Gas Fireplaces—Use Protective Barriers

If you have one of theseGlass front fireplace without screen

 

and one of these in your house,Woman with young boy

you need to hear about a new way to protect the safety of you and your family.

Starting on January 1, 2015, all new gas fireplaces, and fireplace heaters that vent to the outside, will come with a protective barrier.  This barrier will be there to prevent your child and others from coming into direct contact with the glass front of the fireplace.

Gas fireplace screen

 

Why should you care?

Glass front fireplace injury from burn

You should care because the glass fronts of fireplaces can reach 500° F or even 1,000° F, and children and others can be badly burned by touching the glass.

Severe burns can happen in seconds.

 Glass front fireplace injury from burn

Numerous young children have been burned this way. You can prevent this from happening to your child.
Glass front fireplace injury from burn

Protective barriers will be standard on new gas fireplaces starting on January 1.  Make sure to use the barrier.

If you already have a fireplace, buy a protective retrofit barrier to protect your little ones from being burned. Barriers can include attachable safety screens, safety gates and fireplace safety screens like you see below.  If you choose an attachable safety screen, check with your fireplace manufacturer to get the right one for your fireplace. You can buy safety screen barriers at fireplace retailers and hardware stores and purchase safety gates at big box and/or baby product stores.

Gas fireplace screen  Two young children playing in front of a screened off fireplace  Gas fireplace with screen

In addition to the safety barrier, make sure to supervise young children around the fireplace.

We want to thank the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association (HPBA), which chaired the voluntary standards committee that developed the new ANSI industry standards requiring barriers. We also want to recognize Dr. Carol Pollack-Nelson, who petitioned CPSC and sparked movement on the voluntary standards to address gas fireplace-related burns to children, and also recognize the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for sharing information with CPSC about the terrible burn injuries children have suffered by touching hot fireplace glass.

The HPBA and AAP have more safety information on their websites. Check them out.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/12/protect-young-children-from-burns-on-glass-fronts-of-gas-fireplaces-use-protective-barriers/

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/

Adult Bed Rails: A Solution For Some, Not For Others

Blog en español

Do you care for someone who uses portable bed rails? These rails and handles may not provide the added safety you seek.  If the person you are caring for has physical limitations, dementia or delirium, portable bed rails could be hazardous. From January 2003 to December 2013, CPSC received reports of nearly 175 deaths related to adult portable bed rails. In addition, an estimated 39,600 adult portable bed rail injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments from 2003 to 2012. Most of these deaths and injuries occurred with people who were 60 years old and older. FDA reported 531 deaths from January 1985 to January 2013 with bed rails used on hospital beds. The biggest cause for deaths and injuries are from people becoming trapped. Entrapments happen between rails or between the rails and a mattress, a commode, the floor or a headboard. Portable bed rails include rails, handles and grab bars. They are attachable and removable from a bed, not designed as part of the bed by the manufacturer, and are installed on or used along the side of a bed. When we discuss portable bed rails, we’re referring to those used in homes and care facilities, not those on hospital beds, for the following purposes:

  • to reduce the risk of falling from the bed,
  • to help the consumer reposition in the bed, or
  • to help the consumer get in and out of the bed.

They should NOT be used as a restraint to keep a person in a bed. Bed rails come in different styles, shapes and sizes. Here are a couple of examples:

photos of a portable bed rail and a bed handle or grab bar.

Left: A portable bed rail. Right: A bed handle or grab bar.

Before you install a bed rail, consult with a doctor, and consider whether this is the right product for your situation. There are other alternatives when a bed rail is not the right solution. If you do choose to install a bed rail, follow these tips from CPSC and FDA:

  • Check with the manufacturer to make sure the bed rails are compatible with the mattress and bed frame. These are not one-size-fits-all products.
  • Select and place bed rails in a way that discourages climbing over the rails to get in and out of bed, which can lead to falling over the rails.
  • Install bed rails using the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a proper fit.
  • Check bed rails regularly and readjust as needed to make sure they are installed correctly. Rails can shift or loosen over time creating dangerous gaps.
  • Check for recalled bed rails or handles.

Are you interested in more information related to bed rails and/or older adults? FDA has a website section dedicated to Bed Rail Safety.  CPSC recently published a report detailing consumer product related injuries to people 65 and older.  We also offer a free Home Safety Checklist for Older Consumers to help you stay safe.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/05/adult-bed-rails-a-solution-for-some-not-for-others/

Millions More IKEA Children’s Lamps Recalled

Blog en español

Did you buy a children’s wall-mounted lamp or nightlight from IKEA? So did a lot of people. Take some time today to see if your child’s light is recalled.

IKEA is recalling about 3.5 million lamps in the U.S., 1.4 million in Canada and 30.2 million worldwide. Children can get tangled and strangle in the electrical cord that hangs from the lamp.

IKEA previously recalled some of these lamps in December 2013. As we reported then, two children, a 16-month-old and a 15-month-old, got tangled in the lamp’s cord while the children were in their cribs. One child died, the other nearly strangled. In both of these instances, which happened in Europe, the children pulled the lamp cords into the crib.

Twenty seven styles of lamps and nightlights are included in the IKEA lamp recall expansion. Here are some of them:

different models of recalled IKEA children's lamps

Take down these lamps until you get and install the free repair kit from IKEA. The repair kit includes self-adhesive fasteners to attach the lamp’s cord to the wall. Here’s IKEA’s contact information:

  • Toll-free phone: (888) 966-4532 anytime
  • Online at www.ikea-usa.com and click on the Recall link at the top of the page for more information.
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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/04/millions-more-ikea-childrens-lamps-recalled/

Military Families: Know Your Hidden Hazards

The safety of military children should not be sacrificed at home

CPSC joins the Department of Defense (DoD) in supporting military children and recognizing the sacrifices they and their parents make. At CPSC, we want military families to be aware of the hidden hazards that can pose safety risks in military housing. CPSC believes that the safety of military kids should not be sacrificed while in the comfort of their homes. During the DoD’s Month of the Military Child, CPSC urges military families to set aside some time to learn how to prevent tragedies that have taken the lives of too many young children:

Unintentional Poisoning: Reduce the risk of unintentional poisoning in your homes by thinking outside the box and beyond medicine and kitchen cabinets.

Furniture and Appliance Tip-Over: Take simple, low-cost steps to prevent tip-overs of furniture, TVs and appliances.  As we say, “Anchor It and Protect A Child.”

Strangulation: Go cordless with your window blinds and shades to prevent cord strangulations.

Falls from Windows: Always keep in mind that window screens will keep bugs out, but won’t keep children in.

In-Home Drowning: Be aware that children can drown quickly and silently in containers of water inside the home as well as in outdoor pools.

Also, make sure you are using children’s products — like cribs, play yards and strollers — that meet up-to-date safety requirements.

Kids, especially children in military families, have to adapt to a lot of things while growing up. No matter whether you live on or off base, we encourage you to take the simple steps that can prevent these home hazards from hurting your child.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/04/military-families-know-your-hidden-hazards/