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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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/

Before You Start Your Summer Fun, Check for These Recalled Products

Winter is finally giving way to warmer weather. This means kids are playing outside and adults are firing up their grills and working on their lawns. Now would be a good time to check on whether any of your summer products were recalled this past winter. Check out the list of recalled products below. To check other products for safety issues, go to SaferProducts.gov.

Product Photo Product Units Hazard
Char-Broil Grill
Char-Broil Recalls Patio Bistro Gas Grills 69,300 units in U.S. and 1,900 in Canada The electronic ignition on the grill can ignite unexpectedly, posing a burn hazard.
Snoopy150 Snoopy Sno-Cone Machines Recalled by LaRose Industries 102,000 units A brass rivet can fall out of the sno-cone machine’s ice-shaving cylinder and into a sno-cone, posing a risk of injury to the mouth or the teeth.
ToroMower150 Toro Recalls TimeMaster and TurfMaster Lawn Mowers 34,500 units in United States and 1,600 in Canada The mower’s blade can break and injure the user and others nearby.
Solowave Recalls Home Playground Tube Slides with Port Holes Solowave Recalls Home Playground Tube Slides with Port Holes 10,800 in the United States and 9,900 in Canada The plastic port hole-type windows in the tube slide can break, posing a laceration hazard to children.
Sterling Rope Company Recalls Sewn Cords Sterling Rope Company Recalls Sewn Cords 9,200 in the United States and 480 in Canada Sewn cords break at a lower weight than published weight values, posing a fall hazard.
Nationwide Industries Recalls Trident Pool Gate Latches Nationwide Industries Recalls Trident Pool Gate Latches 2,500 units The magnet contained in the striker portion of the latch assembly can come loose, preventing the latch from securing a gate.
Horizon Hobby Recalls Remote Controlled Model Helicopters Horizon Hobby Recalls Remote Controlled Model Helicopters 1,980 units United States and 200 in Canada The tail rotor grip used for securing the tail rotor blade to the tail rotor hub can separate and release from the helicopter, posing a risk of a crash and injury hazard.
Gas Trimmers Recalled by efco Gas Trimmers Recalled by efco 1,400 units in the United States and 166 in Canada The muffler on the trimmer’s engine can break during use and pose a fire hazard.
ClayBowl150 Nantucket Distributing Recalls Clay Bowl Outdoor Fireplaces 1,200 units When fire is lit, pieces of the clay fireplace bowl can blow off of the bowl posing impact and burn hazards
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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/04/before-you-start-your-summer-fun-check-for-these-recalled-products/

Liquid Laundry Packets: An Update

Blog en español

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/