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!


Halloween Carving: Do You Make the Cut?

Many of you want to get elaborate this year. We’ve seen those super-cool pumpkins with detailed carvings, too …

Elaborately carved halloween pumpkin of a howling dog

And while we aren’t saying Boo to those carving cravings, please beware of doing a hatchet job to fingers.

Girl scooping pumpkin with a spoon

Give the child a spoon. Let her scoop. Give her a crayon. Let her draw

Keep the sharp tools in adult hands. Choose them carefully.

Adult carving smiley face pumpkin with a halloween carving tool. Pumpkin is on a flat table.

Light the pumpkins with something battery-operated, like Battery-operated light bulb or flashlight. Don’t use an open flame.

Lit Smiling Halloween pumpkins

Keep it happy, not hurtful. Use our three-step safety check to ensure your fright night fun is not haunted by Halloween injuries.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/10/halloween-carving-do-you-make-the-cut/

OUCH! Table Saws Make the Cut

One of the power tools that is regularly involved in incidents that hurt their operators are table saws. Based on a two-year study in 2007 and 2008, CPSC estimates that about 67,300 people suffered from medically treated blade contact injuries each of those two years.

According to CPSC’s analysis of table saw injuries, the people getting hurt are often experienced operators, including some who disabled safety devices. Victims reported that the device either got in the way or slowed their work down.

Blade contact injuries are serious. CPSC’s study estimates that, on average, consumers treated in emergency department for blade contact injuries suffered:

  • 4,000 amputations per year or 333 each month
  • 4,150 broken bones per year or 346 each month
  • 2,800 avulsions or 238 each month. Avulsions involve a separation of body parts.

A key question has been: Should CPSC set performance requirements that would make table saws safer? In a unanimous vote earlier this month, CPSC decided to move forward with rulemaking on table saws. This rulemaking will start the process of determining how to best improve the safety of table saws.

So, if CPSC creates a mandatory rule to make table saws safer, what would the impact be? What requirements could the rule include to keep people from disabling new safety features?

That’s where you come in. Consumers, victims, industry representatives: Let us know your thoughts on this issue. You have until December 12 to submit comments. Simply go online to Regulations.gov to submit comments.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/10/ouch-table-saws-make-the-cut/

The Beep That Can Save Your Life


That’s the sound you want to hear if there’s a fire in your home. Unfortunately, too many people never hear an alarm.

We estimate that nearly 2,400 people die each year because of unintentional home fires. About two-thirds of these fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or with smoke alarms that don’t work, perhaps because someone has removed the battery and forgotten to replace it. A smoke alarm’s warning can cut the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half.

Beep, Beep, Beep!

Many of us have heard those smoke alarm dead battery chirps – usually at an inopportune time such as 2 a.m. A common response: Remove the battery, go back to sleep, and forget to put in a new battery.

Even when you’re sleep-deprived, that annoying sound does NOT mean remove the battery and forget about it. It means CHANGE THE BATTERY!

When you’re changing that battery, look around your home for where you have smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor? In every bedroom?

Smoke alarms are just one layer of  protection for your home. CPSC along with the National Fire Protection Association urge you to develop a fire escape plan. Each person should know two ways out of every room. Set a family meeting place outside. And then practice it twice a year. REALLY!

In addition to these two key layers of protection, follow these safe practices to prevent a fire:

  • Cook Safely: Stay in the kitchen and keep a watchful eye while you are cooking. Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of cooking fires.
  • Check your home’s electrical safety. Heating and cooling equipment are the second-most common source of home fires. Here is a checklist that walks you through how to keep your family safe room by room.
  • Use caution when smoking and don’t smoke in bed. From 2006 to 2008, smoking materials caused about 600 deaths each year.
  • Buy lighters with  a child-safe mechanism if you have kids at home. It’s obvious, but children and fire don’t mix.
  • Stop using recalled gel fuels in fire pots. CPSC has recalled millions of bottles of gel fuel due to burn and flash fire hazards. The pourable gel fuel can ignite homes  unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning.
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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/10/the-beep-that-can-save-your-life/

Anchor and Protect

Child climbing on a dresser with a television on top 

What’s wrong with this picture?

Let’s start with that TV. It’s up high on the dresser. A TV on a dresser or any tall piece of furniture is a recipe for disaster when you have an active toddler or young child in the house. And it doesn’t matter what kind of TV – large tube TVs, flat screens, big or small consoles. Instead, try to place your TV on a sturdy, low base.

Children like to climb. (Just look at the boy in the picture.) See the remote control on top of the TV? A child knows the remote turns on the TV. Kids are likely to try to get to it – or to try to reach any toys on or near the TV as well – any way they can.

So, what’s wrong with that? Too many times, the furniture and the TV fall over onto children, killing them. In fact, one child dies every two weeks when a TV, furniture or appliance falls on him or her. In addition, each year, more than 22,000 children 8 years old or younger are taken to the hospital with injuries.

Here are some real incidents that have happened this year:


Knowing what you’ve learned so far, take a look at that dresser. It seems stable enough, but don’t be fooled – it is not stable. That same dresser pictured here actually fell over when a young child pulled out all the drawers. As part of your childproofing, it’s important to anchor all furniture to the wall or the floor.

As for those TVs, CPSC recommends anchoring them or strapping them to the wall. CPSC staff has found anchors and straps for furniture and flat-screen and tube TVs for sale at retail and hardware stores.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/10/anchor-and-protect/