The U.S. Consumer Product Safety commission periodically issues new releases and safety alerts on unsafe consumer products. They encourage people to telephone them (1-800-638-2772) to report an unsafe consumer product or a product-related injury. Examples of their safety alerts follow.
Don't use electric heaters in bathrooms:In Missouri, a portable electric heater was placed on the edge of a bathtub while two children were bathing. Unattended at the time, the children pulled the heater into the tub and were electrocuted.
In Illinois, a 65-year-old woman was electrocuted when a portable electric heater fell into the water while she was bathing.
The availability of small, lightweight portable electric space heaters makes it easier for people to use them to heat rooms such as the bathroom. Most electric heaters do not have protection against electrocution should they come in contact with water. For this reason, electric heaters should not be used in bathrooms.
Ground circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can be installed in any wall outlet to protect against electrocution hazards and are especially desirable for outdoor outlets and in bathrooms, kitchens, basements and garages.
Shopping cart falls:
Falls from shopping carts are among the leading causes of head injuries to young children treated in hospital emergency rooms. An estimated 12,000 head injuries to children under 5 years of age are treated annually in hospital emergency rooms.
Furniture tipping over:
Several deaths and thousands of injuries to children happen when furniture tips over. These accidents happen when children fall against, climb onto, or sit on furniture. They also occurr when children try to move furniture or open or close drawers.
Between 1982 and 1986, chests of drawer tip-overs killed six children, television tip-overs killed four and bookcase tip-overs killed one child - all under five years of age.
Plastic bag suffocation:
From 1980 to 1987, 112 children died when plastic bags covered their faces. About 80 percent of the accidents happened to children under one.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports cases like these:
-Child pulled plastic dry-cleaning bag over face while lying on adult bed.
-Plastic garbage bag (filled with clothes) fell over victim's face and mouth while victim was on adult bed.
- Child crawled into plastic garbage bag.
- Child rolled off mattress onto plastic bag filled with clothes.
- Child slept on mattress covered by plastic bag.
Never put children to sleep on or near plastic bags.
Night light danger:
Fires can start when flammable materials touch a night light. Since 1980, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has reports of 36 incidents resulting in two deaths and three injuries. Night lights so close to a bed that falling blankets can touch the bulb can start a fire.
-Alton Thygerson is a professor of health sciences at Brigham Young University.