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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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.

 

 

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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

Blog en español

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/

Protect Your Family from Deadly Carbon Monoxide This Winter

It won’t be long before freezing weather and snow are here.

Icicle on roof and snow

Did you know that November, December, January and February are top months for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths in the United States?

 

 

home heater furnace

These are the primary months when consumers crank up their furnaces and portable heaters to stay warm. Nearly two-thirds of non-fire related CO deaths take place in those four cold weather months.

 

 

 

 

Portable gas generators are also used in the cold months because of power outages, due to snow and ice storms.

Generator scene

CPSC has joined with the National Fire Protection Association this year to warn consumers and firefighters about CO, which kills more than 400 people every year, according to the CDC. CO is called the invisible killer because you cannot see or smell it.

Here is what you can do to prevent CO from hurting your family:

  • Before using your chimney or turning on the furnace, get chimneys and fuel-burning appliances checked by a professional who services those items to make sure they are working correctly and vented to the outside properly.
  • Get a CO alarm. Better yet, install one on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.

CO alarm

  • If you already have CO alarms, make sure they are working properly. Have you changed the batteries this year? If not, replace the batteries.
  • Replace CO alarms every 5 years or as recommended by the manufacturer. Newer CO alarms have end of life indicators that beep when the alarm is at the end of its working life and needs to be replaced.
  • Never use a portable generator inside your house, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed or in a semi-enclosed space, such as a porch close to the house. Generators should be at least 20 feet away from the house when in use.

Freezing weather and snow in the winter are a fact of life. Don’t let CO take yours.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/10/protect-your-family-from-deadly-carbon-monoxide-this-winter/

The DIY Halloween

Blog en español

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving

Before you carve out the scariest jack-o’-lantern in the neighborhood, read CPSC’s tips to prevent nicks and cuts this Halloween. During October and November 2013, more than half of the estimated 4,400 Halloween-related injuries involved pumpkin carving.

  • Kid helpers can grab a spoon and scoop out the inside, or use a marker to trace the template, but leave the carving to the adults.
  • When the masterpiece is carved, consider inserting a battery-operated light rather than an open-flame candle.

Costume Creating

Has your little one requested to be a fairy with a long, flowing dress? Or is the request for a superhero with the best cape ever? Regardless of the type of costume you create this Halloween, CPSC urges you to begin crafting with safety in mind.

  • When selecting fabric, use bright colors of polyester or nylon. Natural fibers, such as cotton, can burn fairly quickly, if there is contact with an open flame.
  • Avoid baggy or oversized costumes. Many injuries last year involved trips and falls.Costume
  • Eye and nose holes in masks should allow for full visibility and adequate breathing. Makeup is a safer alternative.
  • If purchasing a costume, mask, beard or wig, look for the flame resistant label. Although that label doesn’t mean the product will not catch fire, it should extinguish quickly or resist burning.
  • Always use reflective tape as a trim for costumes and outerwear. A bright flashlight or glow stick can also help illuminate the trick-or-treaters.
  • If you plan to disguise your eyes with decorative contact lenses this Halloween, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns of serious eye damage. Follow the FDA’s safety tips to help prevent injury.

 Creative Decorating

Halloween Safety Tips

Lesson one for a Safe Haunted House is fire prevention. Prevent candle fires by substituting the open flame for battery-operated lights and glow sticks. Last year, CPSC received reports of fires involving Halloween-themed candles and a report of a house deemed a total loss after a decorative pumpkin went up in flames.

Lesson two is careful placement of decorations. To prevent falls, remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.

Lesson three, use CPSC’s ladder safety tips to prevent injuries while putting up or taking down decorations.

Lighting checklist:

  • For indoor décor, keep candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.
  • Don’t overload extension cords.Halloween Decorations

Now that your costumes and decorations have been created and placed with safety in mind, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds you to take safe steps on Halloween night. Follow NHTSA’s pedestrian safety tips to help prevent injury.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/10/the-diy-halloween/

Do Passengers Play a Role When an ATV Rolls?

Ever carried a passenger on a one-seater ATV or been a passenger on one? Ever been in a crash with a passenger on board or been a passenger in an ATV accident?

Researchers at CPSC know that carrying a passenger on a one-person ATV creates a hazard. We want to reduce this hazard, but CPSC needs your help. Our researchers want to know more about fatal and non-fatal ATV crashes and the role of passengers.

A recent CPSC study found interesting evidence about age, gender and location of ATV riders involved in reported, fatal ATV accidents. Although the study was not able to identify a significant relationship between the number of ATV passengers and the chances of overturning, the most conclusive finding was that more information is needed.

That is why we seek your input and have issued a request for information (RFI) to expand the data we have about passengers on ATVs.  The information you provide can help us as we try to determine how we might reduce ATV hazards.

You can find more details about the RFI and how to submit information at www.federalregister.gov. The comment period closes on November 24, 2014.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/10/do-passengers-play-a-role-when-an-atv-rolls/