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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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

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/

A New and Dangerous Recreational Activity

Have you heard about our consumer warning on water walking balls yet?

These balls are a new type of water-related recreational activity. You’ll find them at your local fair and amusement parks, on lakes and at the mall.

Water Walking Ball

Risks associated with the use of water walking balls include the potential for suffocation, drowning and impact injuries.

Before you jump in and try them out, be aware that this activity, called water walking, comes with potential risks of suffocation and drowning.

CPSC knows of two incidents involving these products. In one, a child was found unresponsive after being inside the ball for a short time. The child required medical attention. In another, a person inside a ball suffered a fracture when the ball fell out of a shallow, above-ground pool onto the hard ground.

Here’s what you should know:

  • These balls are airtight. Because of this, carbon dioxide can accumulate inside the ball. High carbon dioxide and low oxygen levels … makes it very difficult to breathe. Such a dangerous scenario can occur in just a few minutes.
  • Most balls have no emergency exit. They can be opened ONLY by a person outside the ball.
  • These balls are not padded. This means that injuries can happen if the balls – and the people inside — collide with each other, strike hard objects like a pier or a buoy, or simply fall out of the pool onto concrete or another hard surface.

Before you take these risks – or let your child take these risks – understand that CPSC does not know of any safe way to use this product.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/06/a-new-and-dangerous-recreational-activity/

Tragic Drownings and Near Drownings; Real Preventions

Pool Safely

So far this year, six children, one teenager and nine adults – 16 people in all – have been reported to have drowned in the Phoenix area, according to AZFamily.com.

Moms, dads, folks of all ages: Just knowing some simple safety steps in and around the water can help prevent your child, your parent, or your loved one from drowning.

Here are some recent tragedies that have been reported in Phoenix along with ways that you can prevent these scenarios from happening to you:

What happened: A 2-year-old reportedly escaped the supervision of his parents and grandparents in their home through the doggy door. They looked for him for about 30 minutes before finding him in the backyard pool. The pool had very little water in it and the water was green. (Source: MyFoxPhoenix.com)

Prevention: Install a 4-foot tall fence with self-closing, self-latching gates around the entire perimeter of the pool. Urge neighbors with pools to do the same. Install door alarms on any door that leads to a backyard pool to alert you if your child leaves the house. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool FIRST. Finally, install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near or enter the water.

What happened: A mother was reported to be supervising her 5-year-old son at the pool. He was horse playing and “possibly pretended to drown,” according to AZFamily.com. The mother jumped into the pool to help her son, but struggled herself because she couldn’t swim. The mother is in critical condition at the hospital. (Source: ABC15)

Prevention: If you don’t know how to swim, now is the time to learn. Swimming courses are available in local communities through a variety of public and nonprofit groups. Keep lifesaving equipment handy, including a telephone and tools that can be thrown into the pool. Some examples of these tools are a life ring or a reaching pole. Be sure to wear a Coast Guard approved life vest if you don’t know how to swim and are going into the water.  

What happened: A 3-year-old Mesa, Ariz., girl was reportedly swimming in the family pool with her six brothers and sisters, the oldest of whom was 14. The pool had a gate and appropriate safety precautions. When the six other children got out of the pool, the 3-year-old was found. She had drowned. She had been missing for 20 minutes. (Source: AZCentral.com)

Prevention: Adults rather than older siblings should supervise children in the pool at all times. One adult should serve as a “Water Watcher” whenever children are in the pool. Stay within arm’s reach of non-swimmers and step in to stop excessive horseplay. Regular headcounts can help you keep track of all the children who are in the water.

What happened: A 7-year-old girl was staying with her grandparents, who had an above-ground pool in their back yard. The girl reportedly moved a ladder to the pool, climbed it and drowned in the pool. Police say she was in the water for 20 minutes. (Source: AZCentral.com)

Prevention: Ladders for above ground pools should be stored out of reach of children. Above ground pools are just as attractive to children as in ground pools. Fencing in an above ground pool will help keep young children out.

Related: CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum in the Arizona Republic: Act to keep kids safe around water

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/05/tragic-drownings-and-near-drownings-real-preventions/