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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Developers: We’ve Got a Challenge for You!

Safety APP_BlogHow many consumers know that you can go online and tell the government about consumer product safety problems that you encounter?

How many of you know that you can search those reports before you spend your own money on a particular product?

Since the launch of SaferProducts.gov in March 2011, more than 18,000 product safety reports have been submitted to CPSC. The site gets about 200,000 visits every month.

Those numbers are a good start. But we want to do better. That’s where you come in.

Help us!

The Consumer Product Safety Apps Challenge is simple: Create apps and innovative tools that raise awareness of these reports and of consumer product recalls.

You can get the reports through our SaferProducts API. The recalls API is here.

Mash up the information with product review sites, auction sites and search. Get creative and come up with the next brilliant idea for educating consumers about product safety.

Your reward? You can put on your resume that you built something that saved lives and prevented injuries. Plus, you get to meet our Acting Chairman and take home $1,000. We’ll feature the four winners in a live webcast award ceremony (archived on YouTube), where you’ll get to show off your work.

The complete contest and rules are available at Productsafetyapps.challengepost.com

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/developers-weve-got-a-challenge-for-you/

Space Saving Sleep Solutions

Celebrate African-American History MonthCabinet bed designed by Sarah E. Goode shown closed and opened.Learn more safety information about furniture, on CPSC’s furniture safety guides pageWho isn’t looking for a little more space for all the stuff we acquire?

Sarah E. Goode was a furniture store owner and the first African-American woman to receive a patent. Her patent was for a space-saving, innovative solution that combined a bed and a cabinet. She received her patent for a Folding Cabinet Bed on July 14, 1885—27 years before William Lawrence Murphy patented his fold-up “Murphy Bed” design.

Goode’s bed could be folded up into a cabinet that was also a roll-top desk.  The desk had spaces for paper, writing tools and storage.

While CPSC is not aware of safety concerns with Goode’s original bed design, we keep up with the latest trends in sleep solutions and look for ways to promote bedding safety.

Today, CPSC focuses bedding safety efforts on:

At CPSC, we help make everyday products safer for you.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/space-saving-sleep-solutions/

Electrical Innovations Light up Homes

Celebrate African-American History Month

Lewis Latimer

Lewis Latimer

The ingenuity of African American inventors Lewis Latimer and Philip Downing allowed consumers to see the light, literally. These pioneers were instrumental in bringing the age of electricity safely into consumers’ homes.

Lewis Howard Latimer received a patent in January 1881 for an improved process for creating a carbon filament for light bulbs. His filament was more durable and longer lasting than earlier filaments, such as Thomas Edison’s original paper filament. His innovation provided incandescent light bulbs that were affordable to more consumers and safer than gas lamps, which were generally used at the time.

Latimer also helped draft the necessary drawings required for Alexander Graham Bell to receive a patent for his version of the telephone, co-patented an improved toilet system for railroad cars and was a patent consultant to various law firms. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.

Philip Downing designed an electrical switch that allowed railroad workers to turn the power supply on or off for railroad trains as needed. He received a patent for it in 1890. Electrical switches, like the ones used to turn lights on and off in most homes, are based on his design. He also designed the first street letter box that protected mail from being stolen, the prototype for the mailboxes used by the postal service today.

In the years since Latimer’s and Downing’s innovations, the safety of electrical products has improved vastly. For more than 40 years, CPSC staff have been working hard to continue to reduce the risk of harm from electrical products and to give you the information you need to use them safely.

And we make it easy to report safety problems online, without looking for a mailbox.

At CPSC, we help make everyday products safer for you.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/electrical-innovations-light-up-homes/

Gimme the real McCoy!

Celebrate African-American History Month

Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy

Did you know that asking for the “real McCoy” started with a product invented by an African American?

Mechanical engineer Elijah McCoy received a patent for an automatic steam engine lubricating device in 1872. The device made it possible for train engines to be lubricated while they ran, saving the railroad time and money. When railroad engineers wanted to make sure they received lubricators designed by him and not inferior imitations, they asked for the “real McCoy” system.

Before he died in 1929, McCoy held patents for 56 other inventions, including patents for a folding ironing board and a lawn sprinkler. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2001.

Just like nearly two and a half centuries ago, U.S. consumers want to be assured the products they use are what they expect. Safety is one of those expectations. Due to the work of CPSC and other federal agencies, consumers can rest assured that many products found in homes today are safer to use than ever before.

At CPSC, we help make everyday products safer for you.

Check the products in your home at www.SaferProducts.gov; follow recalls at www.cpsc.gov/recalls, on Twitter @USCPSC or by signing up to receive recall emails; and learn more information in our Safety Education Centers.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/gimme-the-real-mccoy/

CPSC Infographic: Portable Generator-Related Deaths

Blog en español

This infographic is also posted on CPSC’s Flickr page for easy sharing.

portable generator death information

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2014/02/cpsc-infographic-portable-generator-related-deaths/