June 18, 2002
CPSC Warns: Summer Fun Brings More
Emergency Room Visits
For many Americans, summer means fun in the sun. The kids are out of school,
adults are on vacation and it's time for outdoor activities like riding
bikes and hosting barbecues. However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) warns that summer also is the time of year consumers are
most likely to be injured.
More than 3.7 million consumers went to hospital emergency rooms with
product-related injuries in June, July and August 2001. During that summer,
about 836,000 more consumers suffered product-related injuries than in
January, February and March 2001. To avoid becoming a 2002 statistic, CPSC
advises everyone to enjoy summer activities with safety in mind.
CPSC Summer Safety Tips
¤ One of the best ways to stay safe this summer is to wear a helmet and
other safety gear when biking, skating and skateboarding, and when riding
scooters, all-terrain vehicles, and horses. Studies on bicycle helmets have
shown they can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.
¤ Use layers of protection to prevent a swimming pool tragedy. This includes
placing barriers completely around your pool to prevent access, using door
and pool alarms, closely supervising your child and being prepared in case
of an emergency.
¤ Never bring charcoal grills indoors. Burning charcoal produces deadly
¤ When cooking outdoors with a gas grill, check the air tubes that lead into
the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease. Check
grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are
no sharp bends in the hose or tubing. If you ever detect a leak, immediately
turn off the gas at the tank and don't attempt to light the grill until the
leak is fixed. Newer grills and propane tanks have improved safety devices
to prevent gas leaks.
¤ Make sure your home playground is safe. Falls cause 60 percent of
playground injuries, so having a safe surface is critical. Concrete, asphalt
or packed dirt surfaces are too hard. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips or
¤ Use softer-than standard baseballs, safety-release bases and batting
helmets with face guards to reduce baseball-related injuries to children.
¤ If you are a soccer mom or dad, beware that movable soccer goals can fall
over and kill children. Make sure the goal is anchored securely at all times
and never allow anyone to climb on the net or goal framework or hang from
the cross bar. Remove nets when the goals are not in use.
¤ To prevent serious injuries while using a trampoline, allow only one
person on at a time, and do not allow somersaults. Use a shock-absorbing pad
that completely covers the springs and place the trampoline away from
structures and other play areas. Kids under 6-years-old should not use
¤ Don't allow a game of hide-n-seek to become deadly. CPSC has received
reports of numerous suffocation deaths involving children who crawled inside
old cedar chests, latch-type freezers and refrigerators, iceboxes in
campers, clothes dryers and picnic coolers. Childproof old appliances, warn
children not to play inside them.
¤ If summer plans include camping and you want heat inside your tent or
camper, use one of the new portable heaters that are equipped with an oxygen
depletion sensor (ODS). If oxygen levels start to fall inside your tent or
camper, the ODS automatically shuts down the heater before it can produce
deadly levels of carbon monoxide (CO). Do not attempt to use alternative
sources of heat or power to warm a tent or camper. Traditional camping
heaters, charcoal grills, camping lanterns, and gas generators also can
cause CO poisoning.
¤ Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of open
windows. Guards should be installed in children's bedrooms, parents'
bedrooms, and other rooms where young children spend time. Or, install
window stops that permit windows to open no more than 4 inches. Whenever
possible, open windows from the top - not the bottom. Also, keep furniture
away from windows to discourage children from climbing near windows.
¤ Summer also means yard work. When mowing, keep small children out of the
yard, and turn the mower off if children enter the area. If the lawn slopes,
mow across the slope with the walk-behind rotary mower, never up and down.
With a riding mower, drive up and down the slope, not across it. Never carry
children on a riding mower.