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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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/

Grilling Time: Fire It Up Safely

Summer officially kicks off this weekend and millions of Americans will celebrate with a cookout.  Before lighting the grill do a safety check.

  • Has your grill been recalled? Check SaferProducts.gov. If the grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.
  • Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.
  • Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.
  • Is the grill clean? Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.

Don’t let this:
Charcoal grill with flames

Turn into this:

House on fire

Once the safety check is complete, make sure to operate the grill as safely as possible.

  • Use grills outside only in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that will burn. Gas and charcoal grills present a risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning that could result in injury or death. An estimated 3,800 gas or charcoal grill-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2010. While almost all of the injuries were burns, a few of the charcoal grill injuries were related to carbon monoxide.There were an estimated average of eight CO-related deaths per year between 2005 and 2007 associated with charcoal grills that were used indoors or in enclosed spaces.
  • Never leave a grill unattended. If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature. If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and/or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
  • Keep the grill hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
  • Keep children away from the grill area. The outside surface of a grill can get hot and burn when touched.
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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/05/grilling-time-fire-it-up-safely/

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/