Spring and summer months bring changes in lifestyles and recreational activities for many Americans. People are outdoors swimming, camping, mowing lawns and riding bicycles.
And the U.S. Commission Product Safety Commission reminds consumers to think safety while enjoying outdoor activities and offers the following safety information.
House And Garden Equipment
Power Lawn Mowers
Power lawn mowers can be great time savers. However, about 50,000 people receive hospital emergency room treatment yearly for injuries associated with power lawn mowers.
Every year operators of power mowers receive severe cuts and amputations when they try to clear the discharge chute of grass clippings and other debris or adjust the machine while it is still operating. A power mower should be turned off and the spark plug disconnected before any work is done on it. Care should be exercised when operating an electric mower so that the cord does not become entangled in the blades.
Not all victims hurt in power mower accidents are operators. By-standers are also injured when rocks, twigs and other objects on the ground are propelled by the mower with a great deal of force. Raking the area before cutting the grass may prevent that type of accident.
Wearing sturdy shoes, rather than sandals or sneakers, will give better protection to the feet when cutting grass with a power lawn mower.
Insecticides/Pesticides/Toxic Household Substances
Spring and summer gardening may mean an increased usage of insecticides, pesticides and weed killers. The Commission reminds people with young children to store and lock up all toxic substances out of their reach. A tragic accidental poisoning could be the result of storing household and garden products underneath the kitchen sink or in an open shed. Pesticides and insecticides will soon be available in child-protection packaging.
A number of general household products are already sold in safety packages, such as drain cleaner, turpentine, lighter fluid, oil of wintergreen, windshield washer solution, and furniture polish. CPSC urges consumers to buy products with child-resistant packaging when available.
Charcoal grills come into prominent use in the spring and summer. Extreme caution should be taken when cooking on charcoal grills to prevent painful burn injuries and inhalation of smoke and gases. Gasoline should never be used in place of charcoal lighter fluid. And never reapply charcoal lighter fluid after the fire has started; the flames can ignite the vapors, and travel up to the can causing an explosion.
Charcoal grills should never be used in confined spaces, such as homes, campers or tents, or any other area not properly ventilated.
Camping in a tent can be fun. However, campers should be aware that most tents burn and some are very flammable. When purchasing a tent, consumers should look for flame retardant or flame resistant models. Never use candles or open flames in or around the tent. Build campfires several yards away from the tent and extinguish them well before retiring for the night. Flammable liquids should be stored away from the tent.
Each year some 40,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with in-ground swimming pools. The greatest number of those injuries are a result of falls on slippery surfaces surrounding pools. Installation of non-slip material around the pool could make the area safer. It is also a good idea to place rescue and first aid equipment nearby. Keeping electrical appliances, such as radios, away from the swimming pool will reduce hazards of electric shock.
Consumers who may be building swimming pools this season should consider constructing a tall fence on all sides of the pool. Young children drown each summer because they wander out to swimming pools unnoticed. And for this reason, the swimming pool should not be directly accessible from house or patio doors.
Last year over 28,000 people required hospital emergency room treatment for minibike related injuries. Children ages 10 through 14 comprised over 50% of those injury victims.
Accidents on minibikes are generally due to loss of control by the driver, poor riding conditions, mechanical or structural problems and contact with the bikes' parts. When purchasing a minibike, consumers should be aware that the larger the wheels and the greater the wheel base, the more stable the minibike. Exhaust pipes that point toward the rear may reduce the possibility of thermal burns to the legs. Most states do not allow children under 16 to operate minibikes on public thoroughfares, so parents should consider whether or not there are smooth off-street riding surfaces nearby before they purchase a minibike for children and whether their youngsters are mature enough to operate a minibike.
Riders should beware of fence wires or cables which are oftentimes difficult to see. When riding a minibike, drivers should wear suitable clothing, including a heavy-duty helmet and sturdy, closed shoes.
Personal Use Item
Water Buffalo Skin Sandals
Many people start wearing sandals in place of regular shoes during the warm spring and summer months. CPSC advises consumers that sandals made from water buffalo hides may cause a skin rash in some wearers.
Over 90% of the water buffalo sandals sold in the United States are imported from India. The remaining 10% are imported from Japan, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Taiwan, Pakistan, France and Guatemala. Sandals made from hides other than water buffalo also are imported from those countries and do not appear to cause similar problems.
Water buffalo sandals usually come in one style: a flat, thong-type sandal with two leather straps, one fitting across the middle of the foot, the other for the big toe. Not all sandals made in this style, however, are made from water buffalo hides.
The precise causative agent of the reaction experienced by some wearers is not known. However, certain clinical studies have linked the rash to substances used in the tanning process.
The Commission advises owners of water buffalo sandals that soaking them in hot water prior to use may reduce the potential for skin irritation.
In an effort to gain a better understanding of this problem, the Commission requests consumers who have experienced a reaction from the sandals to write or call the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
Please use the below phone number for all media requests.
Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800