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!

Welcome!

Home Safe Home for the Holidays

Blog en español

Stitches, slings, and crutches are not what most people envision for the holiday season. Unfortunately, for about 200 people a day, decoration-related injuries are a reality this time of year. During November and December, an estimated 13,000 consumers are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to holiday lights, Christmas trees, ornaments and other decorations. As consumers nationwide gear up to deck out their homes for the holiday season, CPSC is warning of decorating dangers and providing tips for a safe holiday home.

Holiday ornament

 

Ornaments and Other Decorations – Take special care to avoid sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children, who could swallow or inhale small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to reach for and swallow them.

 

 

Holiday candle with poinsettia

 

Candles – Keep burning candles in sight, away from places where kids and pets can reach them or knock them over. Lighted candles should be placed away from items that can catch fire, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

 

 

Colorful holiday lights

 

 

Holiday Lights – Check lights for the mark of an independent safety testing laboratory.  Examine new and old lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Do not use damaged light sets. Read additional tips on holiday lights.

 

 

Decorated Christmas tree and gifts

 

Christmas Trees – Prevent a tree fire. Check for freshness when purchasing a live tree. The needles should be hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent. Preserve the tree while it is in your home by placing it away from heat sources. Each year, there are about 200 fires in which the Christmas tree is the first item ignited. These fires result in an estimated 10 deaths, 20 injuries, and $16 million in property losses.

 

 

Family hanging exterior lights

 

Ladders – Use caution on ladders. Read “Ladder Safety 101” for tips to prevent ladder falls this season.

 

 

 

Baby toys

 

Toys – Play it Safe this holiday season. Avoid toys with small parts for children younger than age 3; purchase toys appropriate for your child’s age by following the age guidelines on the packaging; purchase helmets and other safety gear for ride-on toys; and heed product warnings and care instructions.

 

 

Bookmark and Share

This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/12/home-safe-home-for-the-holidays/

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.

Bookmark and Share

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.

Bookmark and Share

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.

Bookmark and Share

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.
Bookmark and Share

This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/04/millions-more-ikea-childrens-lamps-recalled/