Sunny with a chance of flying umbrellas

Consumer Reports News: August 18, 2011 06:08 AM

A trip to the beach is the quintessential summer vacation. But while you’re relaxing by the sea on your beach blanket, watch out for umbrellas that may go airborne. Strong sea breezes can easily send your beach umbrella flying.

A flying umbrella can hurt. A search of the Consumer Product Safety Commission database turned up 31 incident reports from beach umbrellas between 2004 and 2009. The majority of those injuries were lacerations, internal organ injuries, or contusions/abrasions.

There have also been lawsuits: a woman in New York won $200,000 after a beach umbrella went airborne on a state park beach and hit her in the temple.

I observed beach umbrella sand anchors (not tested in our labs) in use on the beach in Cape May, NJ and they seemed effective, allowing you to get your umbrella down deep into the sand.

So as you enjoy summer's remaining beach days, make sure your beach umbrella is secure and take it down if the summer wind picks up.

Desiree Ferenczi

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