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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All Eyes On the Pool

Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save LivesIn July and early August, millions of American eyes will be on the pool. How will top U.S. swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte do in London?

Many Americans, both in the African-American community and elsewhere, are particularly excited about Cullen Jones and Lia Neal. Ebony Magazine calls Jones and Neal “two young Olympians poised to change what they say about African-Americans and swimming.”

Olympic swimmers, and even kids who compete in neighborhood swimming competitions, make the sport look so easy. We hope the Olympics is a conversation starter in your home as the Olympians inspire your children to learn how to swim. Do your best to teach your children not to fear the water. Pass on safety and fun at the same time. (See NBC’s Rock Center story on the importance of swimming.)

At home, we, as a nation, need more eyes on our much less experienced swimmers. All Olympic swimmers, from Jones to Phelps, from Neal to Lochte, have one thing in common with every child. At one time in their lives they didn’t know how to swim.

According to news reports, when Jones was 5 years old, he nearly drowned at a water park. (Source: Good Morning America/ABC) That’s when Jones started swimming lessons.

Lessons. They are a simple step that saves lives. They will help teach your child a life-saving skill: How to be safe around water. Use the Olympics as a conversation starter with your child about starting swimming lessons.

Between Memorial Day and July 17, at least 90 children younger than 15 were reported by media to have drowned in swimming pools. Another 106 children were sent to emergency rooms for nearly drowning. That’s about 2 children who died each day during that period.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4. African-American children and young adults ages 5 to 19 die from drowning 6 times more often than their white peers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  And a USA Swimming/University of Memphis survey says that 70 percent of African-American and 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino children can’t swim.

Simple steps save lives.

  • Stay within arm’s reach of children and non-swimmers at all times in and around the pool.
  • Keep eyes on young children.
  • Fence your pool with self-closing or self-latching gates.
  • Assign a water watcher.
  • Learn CPR.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.

This week, pools and waterparks around the country are holding Pool Safely Days to help spread this message of safety. You can help, too. Post these buttons, badges and widget on your blogs, Facebook pages and websites. Put Pool Safely steps into play at your home. Teach them to your children and your neighbors.

Save a child’s life. Earn a gold medal in swimming safety.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/07/all-eyes-on-the-pool/

ATV Riders: Keep Your Family Safe and On the Trail

Man wearing a helmet riding an ATV on dirtDo you have a passion for ATV riding? Do you throw caution to the wind when you ride?

What will the consequences mean for both you and your family?

When you ride, safety matters.

We’re concerned about the safety of your family. We’re not trying to take your ATVs away. We only want to make the riding experience safer so more riders stay alive and families stay together.

ATV safety matters because keeping you and your family safe matters.

About 700 people die every year in ATV-related accidents and another 136,000 go to hospital emergency rooms. Many of these injuries are life changing. So far this year, CPSC is aware of preliminary reports of 130 adults and 28 children under the age of 16 who have died in ATV-related incidents around the country. At least 14 adults and three children are reported to have died during Memorial Day weekend alone this year.

Every ATV rider in your family should take a hands-on training course taught by a certified instructor. Classes are offered by the ATV Safety Institute, local ATV rider groups, and some state departments of natural resources, state highway departments, and other agencies responsible for regulating ATV use. The National 4-H Council also sponsors educational seminars on safe riding for children and teenagers.

At CPSC, we know what can happen with ATVs, because for many years our staff has been investigating the ATV deaths reported to us.  We sit across from parents and grandparents who often say, “If I had only known.”

We believe there would be a dramatic decline in deaths and injuries if riders follow these rules in addition to taking a safety training course:

  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear.
  • Do not carry any passengers on single-rider ATVs.
  • Ride off-road, not on paved roads.
  • Know the terrain.
  • Keep children younger than 16 on youth ATVs and off adult ATVs.

Know ATV safety to keep everyone in your family, you included, safe on the trails and help curb the rise of ATV deaths and injuries that happen every summer.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/06/atv-riders-keep-your-family-safe-and-on-the-trail/

Death, Severe Neck Injuries Prompt Pool Slide Recall

Do you have an inflatable slide for your pool? If so, please pay close attention to this recall of the Banzai Inflatable Pool Slide.

The slide is specifically for in-ground pools. Here’s what it looks like:

Banzai Water Slide

A 29-year-old Colorado mother died after fracturing her neck going down this slide. She hit her head against the concrete edge of the pool when the slide partly deflated. CPSC and the firms recalling this slide are aware of two other serious injuries that have happened in a similar way:

  • A 24-year-old man from Springfield, Mo., became a quadriplegic
  • A woman from Allentown, Pa., fractured her neck.

About 21,000 of the slides were sold at Walmart and Toys R Us from January 2005 through June 2009 for about $250. During use, they can deflate. When this happens, the person on the slide can hit the ground underneath and become injured. The slide is also unstable and can topple over and has inadequate warnings and instructions.

The recalled slides are vinyl with a blue base, yellow sliding mat and an arch over the top of the slide. Hose water can be sprayed on the slide’s downward slope from a nozzle on the arch. The words “Banzai Splash” are printed in a circular blue, orange and white logo that is shaped like a wave on either side of the slide.

We urge you to stop using this slide immediately and return to Walmart or Toys R Us for a full refund.

For additional information, from Walmart, call (800) 925-6278 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.walmartstores.com. For additional information from Toys R Us, call (800) 869-7787 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday and between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, or visit the firm’s website at www.toysrus.com.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/05/death-severe-neck-injuries-prompt-pool-slide-recall/

Drowning is Silent: Portable Pools

Blog en español

portable poolDoes the warm, spring weather have you preparing to set up a portable pool in your yard? No matter what state you live in — even Florida, California, Arizona and Texas, where pool season and drowning risks are year-round — read this blog if you own or are about to buy a portable pool.

Portable pools are affordable, transportable, but can be just as dangerous as any other pool. CPSC has received an average of 35 reports of deaths of children under the age of 5 in portable pools each year. These pools account for 11 percent of all pool drownings for children that age. You can prevent these deaths.

If a portable pool, either large or small, is in your plans or already in your yard, put Pool Safely’s simple steps into play. Whether the pool is a small blow-up pool or a thousands-of-gallons type with rigid sides, portable pools are often left full of water and unsupervised. Just like in-ground pools, portables need barriers and fencing that keep unsupervised children out. Empty and store small portable pools when you are not using them. Cover larger ones.

Here are some general safety tips:

  • Fence portable pools and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
  • If you can’t fence the pool, use smaller, easier to store portable pools. Then, empty the water ANY time you are not supervising the pool and turn it upside down or store it away.
  • NEVER leave a child unsupervised near any pool or spa.
  • Cover larger pools and put ladders away when adults are not supervising or using the pool. When you buy the pool cover, ask at the store if it meets the latest standards.
  • Install door alarms that will alert you when someone leaves the house and enters the pool or spa area.
  • Teach children to swim, float and other life-saving basics. But do NOT consider young children “drown-proof” because they have had swimming lessons.

Simple steps save lives. Find more Pool Safely steps and safety videos at PoolSafely.gov.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/04/drowning-is-silent-portable-pools/

Back-to-School Safety

It’s August! Do you know what that means? BACK-TO-SCHOOL!

While you’re scrambling to pull together fall clothes and school supplies, and sort through your transportation options, be sure to keep a few safety tips in mind:

      1. Many schools are now joining the First Lady’s

Let’s Move Initiative

      and/or the

Safe Routes program

      to encourage walking or biking to school. Whether you’re part of one of these movements or your child already rides a bike or scooter to school, be sure that he/she wears a properly fitted helmet. The helmet should fit snuggly, be flat on top of the head and have a buckled chin strap. It should not move up and down or from side to side. Make sure to replace any helmets that have been in an accident. Helmets only do their job once!

boy on a bicycle wearing a helmet
2. Helmets belong on the head when riding a bicycle, but not when playing on a playground. Teach your child to take the helmet off before he or she plays on a playground. Bike helmets can get stuck in openings on playground equipment, causing a child to strangle.

3. One item that doesn’t belong near a child’s neck is a drawstring. So, look closely at your child’s jackets, “hoodies,” or sweatshirts to ensure there are no drawstrings in the upper portion of the garment. You also should take a look at waist or bottom drawstrings on your child’s jackets and other upper clothing. New regulations specify that you shouldn’t be able to see more than 3 inches of the string when the clothes are stretched wide.

CPSC has received 26 reports of children who died when the drawstring on their clothing became tangled on playground slides, school bus doors and other objects. Waist and bottom drawstrings have been caught in doors or other car parts resulting in dragging incidents.

4. Is soccer your child’s sport? If so, CPSC recommends that soccer coaches, school officials and soccer field maintenance personnel anchor goals to the ground so they do not fall over and cause a serious injury or death.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/08/back-to-school-safety/