Posts Tagged ‘ home safety ’

Lock Up Laundry Gel Packets, CPSC Urges Parents

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Single-Load Liquid Laundry Packets HarmfulThe Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a new warning Tuesday about the dangers of laundry gel packets, saying that if children bite or even handle them, serious health problems may result. This new report follows a similar warning issued in September, which expressed concern for children because of the packets’ similar appearance to toys and teething products.

From the CPSC’s statement:

“In 2012 alone, CPSC staff has learned of about 500 incidents involving children and adults who were injured by the product. Children have required hospitalization from ingesting the product due to loss of consciousness, excessive vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing (requiring intubation). Eye contact with detergent from ruptured packets has also resulted in medical treatment for severe irritation and temporary vision loss due to ocular burns.

Because these packets dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic chemicals when contacted with water, wet hands, or saliva, consumers are strongly urged to always handle laundry packets carefully and with dry hands.”

Image: Laundry gel packets, via USCPSC on Flickr 

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Study: Children Go to ER Every 6 Minutes After Stair Falls

Monday, March 19th, 2012

“On average, we’re still seeing a child every six minutes rushed to an emergency department in this country because of a stair-related injury,” a 10-year study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has found.

The silver lining to the stark findings is that the number of injuries has actually fallen by 11 percent over the decade researchers have been following injury data.  But one million children under the age of five visited emergency rooms during the study period, more than three-quarters of whom had head and neck injuries.

A notable finding was that many children were hurt while being carried up the stairs, and those children were three times more likely to require hospital care than those who had fallen while climbing stairs on their own.

Not every home can accommodate the wall-mounted safety gates that are recommended at the top of every flight of stairs, said Dr. Brian Smith, director of the Center, in a statement.  And in many older homes, staircases are not straight, meaning that some stairs might be slightly shorter or deeper than others, causing a tripping hazard.

“Much more attention should be paid to making stairs safer and user friendly, especially through building codes,” said Smith in a statement.

What can parents do to safeguard their stairs?  Smith offers these safety tips:

  • Never let children play on stairs
  • Always keep stairs free of toys and clutter to prevent tripping
  • If you carry a child down the stairs, always keep one hand on the handrail for balance, and never carry anything else at the same time, and install safe handrails.
  • Rails that are less than 6¼ inches around are safest, because they make it easier for you to put your hand around the entire rail with a firm power grip.
  • Avoid wider, decorative handrails that are difficult to firmly grasp.

Image: Mom and baby on stairs, via Shutterstock.

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Injured Toddler Highlights Grave Dangers Posed by TVs

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The Chicago Tribune reports that a two-year-old girl is in serious condition after being injured by a falling television and dresser last week. She is the fifth child in the Chicago area to be struck by a falling television since October.

The toddler was trying to climb up the dresser when the television fell on her, police reports said. The child’s mother was in another room with her son when she heard a crash. The child was rushed to Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, and her condition was upgraded from critical to serious over the weekend.

But in the four other cases in the Chicago area, all four children died of their injuries. There’s been a wave of similar accidents nationwide: Hospitals saw 40 percent increase in the number of children treated at emergency rooms for “furniture tip-over” injuries from 1990 to 2007, said Dr. Gary Smith, president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, in a previous Tribune article.

From the Tribune:

Televisions account for nearly half of those cases, and young children are the most common victims, Smith said. Nine out of 10 children killed in tip-over accidents from 2000 to 2010 were 5 or younger, according to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“They are actually, unfortunately, common. There is a real need to do something about this,” Smith said.

There appears to be no clear reason for the rise in injuries, Smith said, though it is theorized that more children are being injured by televisions because people tend to put flat-screen televisions in places that are easier for children to reach.

To keep chidren safe, Smith recommends securing all heavy furniture, including televisions and dressers, to walls with attachments such as straps and anchors.

Click here for more from on keeping your toddler safe at home.

Image: TV on dresser via Shutterstock.

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Labor Secretary Urges Action on Domestic Violence

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis has issued a statement urging vigilance, zero-tolerance, and action in honor of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Three American women reportedly die each day from violent abuse, she said, adding that partner violence has far-reaching consequences for women and children:

As the chair of the president’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, I’ve seen how intimate partner violence is the number one cause of family homelessness in America. It puts our young women and men in danger of long-term physical and emotional harm. And it puts their children at greater risk of substance abuse, emotional disorders and becoming abusers themselves later in life.

To those who have been victimized by domestic violence, it’s crucial you know that there is support and shelter available to help you break the cycle of violence. And to those who perpetrate this cowardly act, know that we will not relent in our efforts until you are brought to justice. Let’s be our brother and sister’s keeper, help those who need it and lock up the perpetrators of these awful crimes.

Solis says anyone who witnesses domestic violence of any kind should call 800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit


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Four-Year-Old’s Death Highlights Bunk Bed Dangers

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

DanielMcGarryThe British newspaper The Telegraph published a harrowing story this week about a four-year-old boy from Cumbria, England who died after rolling off a bunk bed in his sleep.

The hand-me-down bed originally came with barriers on both sides of the top bunk, but family members had reassembled the bed without the barrier on the wall side. “Relatives were unsure what had happened to it but thought that since the bed was pushed up against a wall any child using it would be safe,” The Telegraph explained.

On the evening of February 15, Daniel McGarry was placed in the top bunk after he had fallen asleep. When his mother checked on him later that night, she found him hanging between the bed and the wall, and a neighbor with medical training was unable to revive him.

“If there is a wider message to be passed out, it would be to check that bunk beds are properly constructed,” Coroner David Roberts told The Telegraph. “Parents should also ensure that barriers are placed on both sides. They can’t rely on the wall alone being adequate protection to stop a child slipping down and falling from the bed.”

In 2000, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission set mandatory requirements for all bunk beds manufactured in the United States to prevent children from becoming trapped in the bed or between the bed and the wall. Bunk beds made since 2000 must meet the following standards:

  • Every bunk bed must have an affixed label that states the bed’s manufacturer, model, and mattress size information.
  • Every bunk bed must have a warning label that advises against placing children under six years of age in the upper bunk.
  • If the bunk bed is taller than 30 inches, it must have a continuous guardrail on the wall side of bed.
  • Openings on the upper and the lower bunks must be small enough that a child’s head, torso, or limb cannot pass through them.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also warns that children younger than six should never sleep in the upper level of a bunk bed. Additional safety tips from the Commission:

  • Follow instructions carefully when assembling a new bunk bed.
  • Use only proper-sized, manufacturer-recommended mattresses.
  • Make sure that there are no openings in either the upper or lower bunk that are large enough for a child’s head, torso, or limb to pass through.
  • Discuss safety concerns and the proper usage of bunk beds with your children.

(image via:

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