This week in safety

Consumer Reports News: December 19, 2008 08:24 PM

As we write this, snow is falling fast outside our offices in Yonkers, N.Y. blanketing cars, streets and sidewalks.  It's a lovely sight, especially if you can appreciate it from indoors. But for those of us who have to, ugh, shovel out, the snowfall brings to mind some safety cautions. Fortunately, we have our fellow bloggers at Consumer Reports to help us out. Writers on the Health blog give readers three ways to prevent snow shoveling injuries. And our Home bloggers have some safety tips for those who plan to clear their sidewalks or driveways with snow blowers. The Home blog also gives some important cautions about how to safely use a generator if you are unfortunate enough to lose power. And if you are snowed in and adding the finishing touches to your holiday decorations, please remember the safety tips we offered recently. Here's what else happened in safety news this week.

The safety geeks who rescue us before disaster happens
Christian Science Monitor
The best indication that John Drengenberg has been doing his job well, for 40 years, is that you've never heard of him. Most of the things he makes his living worrying about have probably never bothered you, either. Read more ...

The most toxic toys
In February 2006, a 4-year-old boy in Minneapolis, Minn., accidentally swallowed a small heart-shaped locket that had broken off of an eight-inch long bracelet. In most circumstances, the locket would have passed through the boy's system or been removed in a medical procedure. But this wasn't "most circumstances." The silver-colored locket contained a high concentration of lead. The boy died. Read more ...

Companies try to take frustration out of packaging
Financial Post
Finally, a gift for every parent whose Christmas morning begins with stab wounds and muffled curses: The dreaded "clamshell" packaging that imprisons toys behind hard plastic is on the way out. Read more ...

Be wary of recalled products when shopping at thrift stores
Chicago Tribune
With the economy putting a real cramp on budgets this year, more consumers are likely to turn to second-hand stores and Web sites to do their holiday shopping. But when bargain hunting for children's products, experts say, keep in mind the risk of unsafe, recalled items that may have fallen through the regulation cracks. Read more ...

Guerrilla toy testers take aim at lead
The Wall Street Journal
Consumer watchdogs wielding handheld X-ray guns are testing toys on shelves for unsafe levels of lead and other chemicals, giving retailers -- from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to mom-and-pop stores -- a case of heartburn this holiday season. Read more ...

Family sues Disney over bassinet death
Chicago Tribune
The family of a child who died this year in a Winnie the Pooh bassinet has sued the Walt Disney Co., alleging the company allowed sales of the bassinets despite a flawed design that had been linked to another baby's death a year earlier. Read more ...

Tips for keeping older houseguests out of harm's way
Stamford Advocate
Harriet Cooper did not see the dog bed, which she describes as more like a "mat." It was only a few inches high and about a foot long, but it was enough to take her down and hurt her. With another round of holidays approaching it's probably a good time to consider "parent proofing" your home. Read more ...

For kids, car crashes and obesity don't mix
Los Angeles Times
Add one more risk to the list of hazards for overweight kids: car crashes. Safety experts already knew that obese adults were more likely to suffer serious injuries in an automobile wreck, and a new study published online in the journal Injury Prevention shows that children share the risk. Read more ...

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