Firework Use Can Be Deadly. Use with Caution on this Upcoming Independence Day Holiday

July 2, 2014

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging all Americans to celebrate this upcoming Fourth of July safely. In 2013, firework injuries and deaths increased, and so the CPSC is urging consumers to celebrate this year’s festivities safely and caution when using fireworks.

The CPSC issues a report on fireworks safety report every year prior to the Fourth of July to remind consumers to be safe. In 2013, there was an in the number of injuries and deaths associated with the use of fireworks. Toddlers being the most affected. It was reported that 11,400 people were injured, up from 9,000 in 2012, and eight people lost their lives as a result of unsafe fireworks use and fireworks malfunction. 65% of these injuries occurred within 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday. Most of the fireworks being used during the days right before and after the holiday.

In order for the report to be issued, the agency reviewed fireworks incident reports from hospital emergency rooms, death certificate information, newspaper articles and other media sources to estimate the injuries and gather the necessary data for their statistics. The injuries resulted from the consumer playing with lit fireworks or igniting fireworks while holding the actual firework device, by the malfunction of the devices and by the firework having an errant flight path, being tipped over or by it blowing itself out.

As stated earlier, toddlers were the most affected in 2012. Children under the age of five were injured more than any other age group in the U.S.. It was reported that most of these children were injured by the use of sparklers and bottle rockets, which parents/adults consider safer for children, when in actuality they are not. Sparklers burn at a temperature of 2,000 degrees, a temperature hot enough to melt some metals, therefore; sparklers and bottle rockets accounted for more than 40 percent of all injuries in the CPSC‘s report.

Also, it was reported that the eight deaths from fireworks usage in 2013 were a result of the consumer using banned, professional or home manufactured devices. These devices are often not acceptable or compliant with federal regulations, and therefore; are unsafe for consumers to use.

The CPSC urges consumers to only purchase fireworks which are sold legally in the U.S. and to never allow a child to play or ignite fireworks, including sparklers or bottle rockets on their own. It is also recommended that consumers not buy fireworks packaged or sold in brown bags, as most of the time these fireworks are made to be used by professionals and can pose a heightened danger to someone who isn’t educated on the proper way to use these devices.

In conclusion, consumers are urged to use fireworks safely and to not allow children to use them. There are plenty of professional fireworks celebrations nationwide and those are the safest places for children to enjoy the use and demonstration of fireworks. Do your part to avoid any injury during the holiday season. Safety comes first.

Automobile Recalls at an All Time High in 2014

June 16, 2014

Since February of this year, Toyota Motor Corporation and General Motors Corporation have both announced vehicle recalls and have admitted to a blatant neglect towards consumer welfare and safety concerns. 2014 will most likely result in a rash of recalls and set tally records on safety related recalls in a single year.

The criteria for recalls has shifted, it use to be a compliance with laws or whether there were technical problems with a vehicle, but it has now shifted to whether the products can assure customers safety and peace of mind.

Toyota Motor Corp. has been one of the companies with the greatest recall in the recent years. In early June of 2014, Toyota Motor Corp agreed to pay a record $1.2 billion fine to U.S. Regulators to settle a criminal investigation into their unintended acceleration tied to defective floor mats and “sticky pedals” on some of their models. The “sticky pedals” problem was linked to 37 deaths worldwide.

In regards to, General Motors Corp., they too had issues with recalls. In their case it was disclosed that between 2003 and 2011 there were 2.6 million cars that had faulty ignition switches that ultimately led to 13 deaths. It became apparent that the ignitions would unexpectedly switch to accessory mode and shut off the engines, which then disabled the airbags and the power steering, on some of their vehicles. GM has since issued 29 other recalls of 15.8 million cars and trucks.

However; advances in automobile technology have made vehicles today safer than they were 15, 10, even five years ago, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Regardless, if your vehicle has a recall, it is at no expense to you. The cost to fix your vehicles’ problem is on the manufacturer. So, if your vehicle has a recall, simply take your vehicle to your dealership and they will be responsible for the recall and the costs towards fixing whatever needs to be fixed.

Also, not all recalls are safety related and not all recalls affect every vehicle that fits the criteria for the recall. Some problems are environmental. For example, tires can fail for a number of reasons that could include salt on the road, which is normal during Midwestern winters but not likely in the South.

In order to see if your vehicle has been recalled for any reason you can go to the manufacturer’s website or to Edmunds.com and search under car recalls. You can and may also want to contact your dealer or check at NHTSA.gov under recalls and defects.