Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’

Wal-Mart Recalls Dolls Due to Burn Hazard | CPSC.gov

Hazard: The circuit board in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.

About 174,000

Description

The My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby electronic baby doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat. The 16 inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. The doll’s electronics cause her to babble when she gets “sick,” her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop. “My Sweet Baby” is printed on the front of the clear plastic and cardboard packaging. The doll is identified by UPC 6-04576-16800-5 and a date code which begins with WM. The date code is printed on the stuffed article label sewn into the bottom of the doll.

Incidents/Injuries

Wal-Mart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

Remedy

Consumers should immediately take the dolls from children, remove the batteries and return the doll to any Walmart store for a full refund.

Sold exclusively at

Walmart stores nationwide from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.

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Preparation the key to prevent swimming injuries, drownings

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director Northeast CONTACT

Posted June 23, 2013, at 6:09 p.m.

Let’s get the troubling statistics out of the way first.

Most drownings involve children ages 1 to 4. Of children who died of unintentional injury in 2009, 30 percent died of drowning. For each child who dies in a drowning accident, five will need emergency room care for nonfatal, near-drowning injuries; half of them will need hospitalization or additional care.

Now, the good news. The vast majority of these injuries and deaths are preventable. Preparation – in the form of education and swimming skill – is the key.

Let’s take the last point first. Let’s make sure everyone who’s near any kind of water knows how to swim well. The American Red Cross is just one organization offering learn-to-swim and water safety courses (learn more at www.redcross.org).

Whether around the pool at home, at the beach or on Maine’s waterways, make sure that if something happens help is not far away. Have a well-stocked first aid kit handy. You or another responsible adult needs to be supervising children all the time. And make sure someone knows CPR – there are many courses for this as well.

Wearing life jackets is just common sense. While the letter of the law may require only persons age 10 and younger actually wear a personal floatation device, those other PFDs required to be on board won’t do much good if they’re stowed away. Make sure they’re Coast Guard-approved life vests in good condition and use them. Don’t entrust a child’s life to water wings, “noodles” or other toys.

Know local weather conditions before swimming or boating; storms can form quickly. When you’re near water, at home or away, stay in touch. Keep a cell phone handy; you can use it to summon help in an emergency.

Keep backyard pools safe and secure. Sturdy fences should keep unattended pools out of sight of young eyes; gates should be self-closing and self-latching. Install pool and gate alarms to alert you in case youngsters become too curious. Consider installing surface wave or underwater alarms.

If your house serves as the fourth side of a fence around a pool, install door alarms and use them. In addition to a first aid kit and flotation devices, have scissors handy, in case you need to cut hair, clothing or a pool cover.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a motto that sums up its ongoing safety campaign: Pool safely. The CPSC sums it up this way on its website ( www.poolsafely.gov): “Adopt and practice as many safety steps around the water as possible — because you can never know which safety step will save a life — until it does.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a wealth of summer safety tips that go beyond the beach or pool at www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

CPSC – CPSC and ACCC Warn of Poison Dangers with Liquid Laundry Packets

CPSC – CPSC and ACCC Warn of Poison Dangers with Liquid Laundry Packets.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are urging parents to take immediate action to ensure their family is not exposed to the hazards posed by liquid laundry packets or capsules. Young children who are exposed to the highly concentrated, toxic detergent are at risk of serious injury.

Reports of incidents in the United States and Australia have prompted the product safety agencies to warn parents about what can happen if these products are not used safely. Children who have ingested detergent from the packets have required medical attention and hospitalization for loss of consciousness, excessive vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing. Eye contact has also resulted in reports of injury, including severe irritation and temporary loss of vision.

“A product intended to make your clothes clean and bright should not lead to a parent having to call the poison help line because their child is in distress,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “CPSC has played a leading role in addressing this emerging hazard.  We are conducting an investigation, we are educating consumers, and we are urging that changes be made that will reduce incidents and injuries.”

“Poison call centers across Australia have received more than 85 calls in the last 18 months relating to exposure to these laundry capsules,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard. “The experience in Australia is consistent with an international trend, where most cases have involved a child aged five years or younger.”

The number of incidents, in a relatively short period of time, suggests that children are highly attracted to the packets, which can resemble play items. The soft and colorful product can be easily mistaken by a child for candy, toys, or a teething product.

Water, wet hands, and saliva can cause the packets to dissolve quickly and release their highly concentrated toxic contents. Parents and caregivers are urged always to handle the product carefully and with dry hands.

To prevent unintended exposure to the toxic chemicals in the packets, the following steps are recommended:

1.  Do not let children handle the laundry packets.
2.  Keep the liquid laundry packets sealed in their original packaging, and make sure they are locked up and out of a child’s sight and reach.
3.  Ensure your hands are dry before using a laundry packet/capsule, and wash and dry your hands thoroughly after each use.
4.  If swallowed or exposed to the eye:

  • immediately call Poison Help at:1-800-222-1222 in the United States; or in Australia, call the Poisons Information Centre on: 13 11 26.
  • if swallowed, rinse as much of the detergent as possible from the mouth.
  • if exposed to the eye, flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes.

 

Tenenbaum and Rickard noted that while consumers can take some precautions, the industry can also look to improve the product to make it safer for all concerned.

“CPSC has received more than 500 reports of incidents involving children and adults and is working with manufacturers of the liquid laundry packets to prevent additional ingestions and eye injuries,” added Chairman Tenenbaum.  CPSC is encouraged that the manufacturers of laundry packets are developing improved warning labels, making their product packaging less attractive to children, and have committed to implement a comprehensive multi-year consumer awareness campaign.  However, CPSC seeks additional design changes to all types of packages containing laundry packets that will make individual packets less accessible to children.

“The ACCC has been working closely with industry association Accord Australasia to improve the safety and packaging of these products. With the assistance of Accord, industry has acknowledged our concerns and has signaled that changes will be made. Expected changes include the redesign of the product and outer packaging so it features prominent warning labels and consistent safety information,” said Ms. Rickard.

CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to 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 30 years.

In the United States, 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 @OnSafety, or by subscribing to CPSC’s free e-mail newsletters.

 

Fisher-Price recall due to risk of mold exposure

Fisher-Price Recalls to Inspect Rock ‘N Play Infant Sleepers Due to Risk of Exposure to Mold.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should immediately inspect this product and stop using it if mold is found. Units currently in retail stores are not included in this recall to inspect.

Name of Product: Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper™

Units: About 800,000 units

Importer: Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y

Hazard: Mold can develop between the removable seat cushion and the hard plastic frame of the sleeper when it remains wet/moist or is infrequently cleaned, posing a risk of exposure to mold to infants sleeping in the product. The CPSC advises that mold has been associated with respiratory illnesses and other infections. Although mold is not present at the time of purchase, mold growth can occur after use of the product.

Incidents/Injuries: Fisher-Price has received 600 reports of mold on the product. Sixteen consumers have reported that their infants have been treated for respiratory issues, coughs and hives after sleeping in the product.

Description: This recall to inspect includes all Fisher-Price Rock N’ Play infant recliner seats called sleepers. The sleeper is designed for babies up to 25 pounds and is composed of a soft plastic seat held by a metal rocking frame. The product has a removable, fabric cover that is sold in 14 patterns and color palettes.

Sold at: Mass merchandise stores nationwide and online since September 2009 for between $50 and $85. Units currently in retail stores are not affected by this recall to inspect. Only products that show signs of mold after use by consumers are included in this announcement.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately check for mold under the removable seat cushion. Dark brown, gray or black spots can indicate the presence of mold. If mold is found, consumers should immediately stop using the product. Consumers can contact Fisher-Price for cleaning instructions or further assistance. Cleaning and care instructions can also be found at http://www.service.mattel.com or by contacting the firm.

Consumer Contact: Fisher-Price; at (800) 432-5437, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.service.mattel.com for more information.

Baby Seats Recalled for Repair by Bumbo International Due to Fall Hazard

 

Click image to see earlier Consumer Forum column Feb 12th in the BDN

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Bumbo Baby Seats

Units: About 4 million in the U.S. Note: In October 2007, 1 million Bumbo seats were voluntarily recalled to provide additional warnings against use on raised surfaces.

Manufacturer: Bumbo International Trust, of South Africa

Hazard: Babies can maneuver out of or fall from the Bumbo seat, posing a risk of serious injuries.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC and Bumbo International know of at least 50 incidents after the October 2007 voluntary recall in which babies fell from a Bumbo seat while it was being used on a raised surface. Nineteen of those incidents included reports of skull fractures. CPSC and Bumbo International are aware of an additional 34 post-recall reports of infants who fell out or maneuvered out of a Bumbo seat used on the floor or at an unknown elevation, resulting in injury. Two of these incidents involved reports of skull fractures, while others reported bumps, bruises and other minor injuries.

Description: The bottom of the Bumbo seat is round and flat with a diameter of about 15 inches. It is constructed of a single piece of molded foam and comes in various colors. The seat has leg holes and the seat back wraps completely around the child. On the front of the seat in raised lettering is the word “Bumbo” with the image of an elephant on top. The bottom of the seat has the following words: “Manufactured by Bumbo South Africa Material: Polyurethane World Patent No. PCT: ZA/1999/00030.” The back of the seat has several warnings and seats manufactured since 2008 have an additional label on the front of the seat warning against use on raised surfaces.

Sold by: Sears, Target, Toys R Us (including Babies R Us), USA Babies, Walmart, and various other toy and children’s stores nationwide, and various online sellers, from August 2003 through August 2012 for between $30 and $50.

Manufactured in: South Africa

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the product until they order and install a free repair kit, which includes: a restraint belt with a warning label, installation instructions, safe use instructions and a new warning sticker. The belt should always be used when a child is placed in the seat. Even with the belt, the seat should never be used on any raised surface. Consumers should also immediately stop using Bumbo seat covers that interfere with the installation and use of the belt. A video demonstrating proper installation of the restraint belt and proper use of the Bumbo seat are available at http://www.recall.BumboUSA.com


Consumer Contact: Order the free repair kit by visiting www.recall.BumboUSA.com or calling (866) 898-4999 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CT on Friday. Do not return the Bumbo seat to retailers as they will not be able to provide the repair kit.

In response to the initial Consumer Forum column, Bumbo asked for clarification of information presented regarding safety straps.  On February 21 the following appeared:

In last week’s column, I made several points about the Bumbo baby seat with which its manufacturer, Bumbo International, took exception. Three clarifications should help to correct the record.

A Bumbo spokesperson wrote to say that a warning had been placed on the seat, as well as on the box and in printed instructions, before the 2007 voluntary recall; after the recall, a second warning was printed on the front of the seat. This was a reporting error.

I wrote that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was aware of 95 more injuries since the recall and that 50 of those happened while the seat was being used on the floor or when it was not clear where the seat was being used. Bumbo notes this statement confused incident reports with injuries. A CPSC news release says the Commission is aware of a total of 39 injuries. This was also a reporting error.

I also cited a story in USA Today about the possibility of adding a safety strap to the seat. The online version reads, “Asked why it doesn’t redesign the seat with a strap to keep kids from falling out, Bumbo International said Thursday that a safety strap would give parents a ‘false sense of security.’” Bumbo’s spokeswoman wrote to me that “the company has not said that a safety strap ‘would’ give a false sense of security but rather is concerned that any safety device could give the impress (sic) that the seat is safe for uses for which it is not designed,” namely, that it not be used above floor level.

The Bumbo spokeswoman also provided a copy of its statement to USA Today, which concluded, “The safety and health of all children who use the Bumbo seat is the company’s foremost priority.”

Magnetic Desk Toys Pose Real Risk for Children — WABI Morning News

Consumer Contact: Magnetic Desk Toys Pose Real Risk for Children

by WABI-TV5 News Desk - August 9th 2012 08:58am – View Segment

Russ Van Arsdale gave us information in our Consumer Contact segment this week, about the risk of magnetic desk toys and what harm they can pose to children when they are swallowed.

To get more information on these magnets you can visit the Consumer Product Safety website By Clicking Here

The dangers of playing with magnets

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive director, Northeast CONTACT

Posted July 28, 2012, at 3:34 p.m.
 Jonathan and Meaghin Jordan of Kiln, Miss., bought a set of magnets and enjoyed moving them into various shapes. Their fun ended, however, when they discovered their 2-year-old son Braylon had swallowed eight of the magnets.

Some of the magnets joined partway through Braylon’s intestinal tract, and he suffered a perforated bowel. Last month, surgeons removed his small intestine; the youngster is likely to face more surgery.

This story is one of hundreds involving magnets swallowed by curious children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, has issued warnings about magnet ingestion in the past. In April 2007, the agency cautioned that magnets could come loose from some products and pose a danger to children. Last November, CPSC and Maxfield & Oberton Holdings LLC worked cooperatively to inform the public of possible risks posed by high-powered magnet balls sold as adult desk toys.

Those sets are made of strong, rare earth magnets that can hold many times their own weight. Since they’re more powerful than regular magnets, they’re likely to combine once ingested. That can cause twisting and tearing of the stomach or intestines, blood poisoning and possibly death.

The CPSC received one ingestion report involving ball-bearing-type magnets in 2009, seven in 2010 and 14 through October 2011. The incidents involved children aged from 18 months to 15 years. Seventeen of the cases involved ingestion of magnets, and 11 required surgical removal.

The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition found during a recent survey of its members that there were more than 60 magnet ingestions in two years, resulting in 23 bowel perforations and requiring 26 surgeries.

Maxfield, the maker of Buckyballs and Buckycubes, is up front about the danger. Products on the company’s website all display the caution, “Warning: Keep Away From All Children.” The firm says every package carries the warning in five different places, with more warnings on the instructions.

A company video puts it plainly: “If accidentally swallowed, they can cause damaging injuries and sometimes lead to emergency surgery or even death.” Why, you might ask, does the firm continue to market what it admits is a risky item?

The company says it’s all about consumer choice and responsibility. It markets the magnets as fun desk toys for consumers ages 14 and older. The company says its warnings are clear and sufficient, and it’s up to the adults who buy them to make sure they don’t get into children’s hands.

The company says that since the CPSC relies on warnings to prevent other consumer injuries, the agency should not ban sales of magnets. Of a half billion magnets in the marketplace, the firm says there have been “fewer than two dozen cases of misuse.” On its website, it tells CPSC, “Thank you for trying to drive a $50 million New York-based consumer products company out of business.”

Last week CPSC filed suit against the company calling Buckyballs and Buckycubes — the company’s only products — a “substantial product hazard.” CPSC asked major retailers to stop selling the products, and some have complied. Maxfield says the lawsuit gives the company a chance to defend its products, “but only after ruining its retailer base through intimidation tactics.”

Whatever a judge finally rules, CPSC’s suggestions on magnet safety are worth reading:

• Keep small magnets away from young children who might swallow them.

• Look out for loose magnet pieces and regularly inspect toys and children’s play areas for missing or dislodged magnets.

• If you suspect that magnets have been swallowed, seek medical attention immediately.

• Look for abdominal symptoms, such as abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

• Note that in X-rays, multiple magnetic pieces may appear as a single object.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s membership-funded, nonprofit consumer organization. Individual and business memberships are available at modest rates. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

Troxel Recalls Flexible Flyer Swing Sets Due to Fall Hazard — CPSC

Troxel Recalls Flexible Flyer Swing Sets Due to Fall Hazard.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Flexible Flyer Swing Sets

Units: About 100,500 in the United States and 4,900 in Canada

Manufacturer: The Troxel Company, of Moscow, Tenn.

Hazard: The see saw seats can break away from the bolt fasteners during use, posing a fall hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm received 1,232 reports of see saw seats breaking resulting in thirteen injuries to young children that included bumps, bruises and lacerations.

Description: The Flexible Flyer swing sets come in 11 different models each with a see saw attachment along with swings, bars or a slide

Sold by: Walmart, Toys R Us, Academy and at other specialty stores, and online retailers from December 2011 through May 2012 for between $130 and $280.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the see saws immediately and contact Troxel to receive a free repair kit.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Troxel at (888) 770-7060 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the company’s website at http://www.regcen.com/flexibleflyer

Fireworks safety has many elements, including awareness of who is nearby

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive director, Northeast CONTACT
Posted June 30, 2012, at 5:01 p.m.

 Have a happy and safe Fourth of July. It’s a wish we give and receive a lot these days, and it’s one we would like to stress right now.

Many consumers are celebrating not only the country’s independence, but also the fact that they can legally buy fireworks in Maine. While we don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade (or fireworks display, for that matter), we urge both caution and restraint when using those fireworks.

Caution is in order whenever explosive, high-temperature compounds are present. Restraint is called for when our enjoyment of a rocket’s red glare has a whole different — and seriously upsetting — effect on others. More on that in a moment.

First, let’s get the basic safety message on the record. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported three fireworks-related deaths in 2010, a year in which fireworks-related injuries were estimated at 8,600. Children under age 15 accounted for about 40 percent of those injuries, and more than half of all injuries were burns.

CPSC staff looked closely at the 30-day period surrounding the Independence Day holiday in 2010 and found that most injuries were related to misused or malfunctioning fireworks. Typical malfunctions involved fireworks going off earlier or later than expected, flying fireworks going off course and launching tubes that tipped over. The study cited common examples of misuse as setting fireworks improperly, lighting them too close to other fireworks and mischief.

Some common sense practices can help people avoid those injuries. There are numerous reports of deaths and maiming injuries caused by people trying to make fireworks at home; while consumers should not make such attempts, they also should be on the lookout for less-than-professional-grade fireworks that might make their way onto the market.

Never allow children to play with fireworks or light them. Have a fire extinguisher close by. And be sure other people and animals are out of the way before touching off fireworks.

That final point bears repeating, especially when vulnerable individuals are concerned. Very young or old people may be startled by the sudden loud noise of fireworks. Another group of individuals that might be sensitive to them is combat veterans.

Military personnel who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and other places where conflict occurs can find it difficult, if not impossible, to leave the experience behind. Diagnoses of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, are increasingly common. And sudden noises, bright flashes or other “triggers” can cause a reaction the veteran would have experienced while in combat.

Many vets return home without realizing how these triggers work. Battle scenes on television or the sound of a helicopter might be enough to cause symptoms of PTSD. If they recognize them, vets should seek treatment as soon as possible.

“We do have effective treatment for PTSD these days,” says Dr. Jerold Hambright at the Togus VA Medical Center.

Psychotherapist Dale McGee has worked with combat veterans since 1985. He says a majority of vets with combat experience don’t like to be around fireworks. McGee suggests that if fireworks will be part of a family gathering, make any veterans present aware of that.

“If they [vets] know it’s going to happen, they do pretty well,” McGee says. “It’s when they don’t know it’s going to happen that it’s worse.”

McGee seconds the call for vets who may be suffering in silence to ask for help. “Call the Vet Center [in Bangor, 207-947-3391 or 877-927-8387]. That’s what we’re there for.”

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s membership-funded, nonprofit consumer organization. Individual and business memberships are available at modest rates. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

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Fireworks Law & Regulations – Office of Maine State Fire Marshal 

Municipal Restrictions and Prohibitions on Consumer Fireworks

Fireworks rules misunderstood by many

Maine Sunday Telegram, July 1, 2012

Tips for following portable pool safety practices this summer

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director, Northeast Contact

Posted April 28, 2012, at 3:55 p.m.

With warmer temperatures coming, our thoughts are turning increasingly to outdoor activities. For children, that includes some time in swimming pools. The message today is to keep our youngsters safe, especially before and after swim times.

Adults are usually hypervigilant when children are in the pool; it’s the times when older eyes are turned away that younger eyes may be drawn to the water. Since a child can drown in just a few inches of water, safety officials and consumer groups send out cautions every year.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission last week reminded us that the same precautions that apply to larger, above-ground pools also apply to smaller models. The commission received reports that on average 35 children under age 5 drown every year in portable pools; that’s roughly 11 percent of all pool drownings among children that age.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that adults follow several rules to help prevent these tragedies. Rule one, of course, is that children should never be left alone in a pool or near a pool that’s liable to attract their attention. When they’re not being used, smaller pools should be emptied and turned upside down or stored away; larger pools should be covered. If you’re buying a pool cover, ask if it meets the latest safety standards.

One of the best deterrents is a fence. Any pool that cannot be emptied easily should be fenced. The best fences for this purpose have no hand- or foot-holds, discouraging climbers. For complete guidelines on residential pool fences, visit the commission’s website Pool Safely.

Gates on pool fences should be self-closing and self-latching, so they will shut securely even if people entering or leaving have their hands full. The gates should open outward, away from the pool; then, if a latch doesn’t fully close, a child pushing on the gate might fully close it. The latch should be placed out of the reach of small children.

If your house serves as the fourth side of a pool, equip the door leading to it with an alarm. This can alert adults that someone might be approaching an unattended pool. You also might consider pool and gate alarms.

Have a telephone nearby when anyone is using a pool. Teach children to swim and float — and some lifesaving basics — but do not consider any children to be “drown-proof” simply because they have been taught to swim.

There are legal liabilities associated with owning a pool. Consumers should check with their insurance companies or agents before making a purchase.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s membership-funded, nonprofit consumer organization. Individual and business memberships are available at modest rates. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

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