RECALL: Avon Popcorn Maker
June 6th, 2013
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that Avon is recalling nearly 55,000 units of its Microwave Popcorn Maker sold in the United States with item number 474-105. It has a clear plastic tub and a yellow vented lid.
Avon has received 20 reports of the popcorn makers overheating, including two incidents involving fires that resulted in damage to microwave ovens. No injuries have been reported.
Consumers should stop using the popcorn maker immediately and contact Avon to receive a copy of the updated instructions on how to safely use the microwave popcorn maker. The new instructions can also be obtained from independent Avon representatives and on Avon’s website www.avon.com under the Product Recall section (at the bottom of the home page).
RECALL: Harley-Davidson Half Helmets
June 5th, 2013
RECALL: KBC America announced a recall of 456 Harley-Davidson helmets manufactured in March 2011.
According to Motorcycle & Powersports News, certain Harley-Davidson Hybrid Ultra-Light Classic Cruiser Half Helmets failed to conform a Federal Safety Standard, which specifies the requirements for helping to reduce the force of potential impact and penetration.
KBC America will recall only certain L, XL and XXL units. Users wearing these specific helmets may not be adequately protected in the event of a crash, and thus increasing the chances of injury.
Consumers will be asked to bring the affected products to a Harley-Davidson dealer. The dealer will confirm that the helmet is affected by this recall by inspecting the GM label on the helmet’s interior shell under the snap-in liner. The helmet part numbers are 98336-09VM/000L, 98336-09VM/002L and 98336-09VM/022L, and the affected label GM code for these three sizes is GM00032205. Customers may contact KBC at 1-818-526-7771. (Recall campaign number is 13E025000.)
National Safe Boating Week 2013
May 21st, 2013
You’d never know it by the weather lately, but it is now boating season. This week, May 18-24, is National Safe Boating Week. To help you and your family get in the mood for a summer of floating fun, check out these safety tips from Sea Tow, a network of U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains who provide on-water assistance to boaters in need.
Safety Starts Before you Leave the Dock
Check Your Safety Equipment. Inspect the boating safety gear that the U.S. Coast Guard requires you to have on board your boat. Make sure it’s all there, is working properly, and hasn’t passed its expiration date. Once you’ve checked off every item on the Boater’s Safety Equipment Check List posted on our website in the “Captain’s Classroom,” you’ll be good to go!
Choose the Right Life Jacket. It has often been said that the best life jacket is the one that a person will wear. A life jacket needs to fit properly and be suited to the wearer’s typical activities on the water in order to be the most effective. Life jackets come in five different types based on U.S. Coast Guard approvals. (For more information, visit the Sea Tow Foundation website.) Each of these types has been thoroughly tested and rated for safety. Yet, with all these options, boaters can easily get confused. The Sea Tow Foundation has provided some quick tips to help you choose the correct life jacket for your body type and boating activity.
- Check the label inside the life jacket to make sure it is Coast Guard-approved and that you fall within the weight restrictions and chest size measurements listed for it.
- Try on the life jackets in the store to make sure they fit snugly when all the buckles and/or zippers are fastened.
- Raise your arms over your head and have a friend tug on the jacket to make sure it doesn’t go above your chin. This is especially important when fitting a child who could slip out of a jacket that is too big for him or her.
- Move your arms and body as if you were out on the water and see if the jacket is comfortable and allows you to move easily.
- Then, make sure that it is rated for your boating activity using the following guides:
- Boaters involved in activities that take place in calmer waters (fishing, canoeing and cruising on a pontoon boat) can look for inflatable life jacket options (over age 16 only) or look for a Type II or III life jacket.
- Activities that involve possible impact with faster-moving water (riding a PWC, water-skiing and white-water kayaking) should avoid any inflatable life jacket options and stick with a foam vest that can be adjusted to fit snugly against the body. A Type III life jacket would be a good option for these activities.
File a Float Plan. Before heading out with the family for a day of fun on the water, it’s important to file a float plan and leave it with a responsible person. That way, if you should wind up being overdue on your return, someone ashore will know to alert the authorities. Filling out the float plan with your kids can be a fun and educational way to start your boating adventure. For a blank form, click here.
Safety When Boating with Children. Boating is one of the best ways to bond with your children, teach them about nature and create memories that will last a lifetime. Taking a few basic precautions before you head out onto the water can ensure the experience is safer and more enjoyable for the whole family. Here are five tips from the Sea Tow Foundation:
- Life Jackets Are the Law. All children under 13 years of age must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while the vessel is being operated, unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin on board. The Sea Tow Foundation suggests letting the kids pick out their own life jackets (as long as you make sure they fit). You might want to keep a couple handy for friends.
- Safety Starts Ashore. Get the kids in the habit of putting on sunblock, a hat, and their life jacket even before you get to the boat. That way, they’re protected if they accidentally should tumble off the dock into the water.
- The Captain’s in Charge. The adult who is driving the boat should give the kids a safety briefing before leaving the dock. Make it a point to tell them that there can only be one captain, and it’s important to follow orders quickly and quietly.
- Ahoy, Matey. Kids get a bigger kick out of a boat trip when you make them your First Mate. Before you leave, show them where you’re going on a chart. While under way, teach them how to work the chart plotter. In many states, children as young as 12 can take a boating safety course to be able to operate the boat with your supervision.
- Places, Please! Give the kids assigned seats on the boat while docking, so that they don’t accidentally block the driver’s view. Make sure they know to keep their fingers and toes inside during this process!
For more tips on boating with kids, visit Sea Tow’s Captain’s Classroom at www.seatow.com/boating-safety/captains-classroom.
RECALL: DiGiorno and California Pizza Kitchen Frozen Pizzas
May 3rd, 2013
Nestlé USA’s Pizza Division today announced the voluntary recall of select production codes of four different frozen pizzas sold in the U.S. These include:
- California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Crispy Thin Crust White®, UPC 71921 98745; production codes are 3062525951, 3062525952 and 3063525951.
- California Pizza Kitchen® Limited Edition Grilled Chicken with Cabernet Sauce, UPC 71921 00781; production code is 3059525952.
- DiGiorno® Crispy Flatbread Pizza Tuscan Style Chicken, UPC 71921 02663; production codes are 3057525922 and 3058525921.
- DiGiorno® pizzeria!™ Bianca/White Pizza, UPC 71921 91484; production code is 3068525951.
The voluntary recall is limited to frozen pizzas with these specific production codes, which were distributed nationwide. No other production codes/dates, sizes or varieties of CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN or DIGIORNO pizzas are affected by this recall. The reason for the recall is that the pizza may contain fragments of clear plastic. Nestlé USA is taking this action after a small number of consumers reported that they had found small fragments of plastic on the CPK Crispy Thin Crust White pizza. According to Nestle, this is directly related to a particular lot of spinach they received from one of their suppliers. Although no complaints have been received to date on the other three varieties that used this spinach, they are recalling these additional varieties in an abundance of caution.
Pizzas are already being removed from grocers’ freezers.
Nestlé USA also is reaching out to consumers to ask that they examine their freezer inventory for the specific packages of DIGIORNO and CPK varieties affected by this recall.
To locate the production codes for these specific pizzas, the consumer simply needs to look for a blue or pink rectangular box on one of the side panels of the pizza box. The production code is on the second line of the printed code and is the first ten digits of the number. Consumers should look for the following production codes:
- CPK Crispy Thin Crust White: 3062525951, 3062525952 and 3063525951.
- CPK Limited Edition Grilled Chicken with Cabernet Sauce: 3059525952.
- DiGiorno Crispy Flatbread Pizza Tuscan Style Chicken: 3057525922 and 3058525921.
- DiGiorno pizzeria! Bianca/White Pizza: production code is 3068525951.
Consumers who may have purchased the recalled CPK and DIGIORNO pizzas with the identified production codes should not consume the pizza, but instead should contact Nestlé USA Consumer Services at 800-456-4394 or email@example.com for further instructions. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., E.T. and this Saturday, May 4th from 12 noon – 8 p.m. E.T.. Nestlé will provide a replacement coupon to reporting consumers and also may make arrangements to retrieve the pizza for further examination.
Nestlé USA is dedicated to food quality, and the health and safety of its consumers. For these reasons, the company initiated this recall. They say: ”We apologize to our retail customers and consumers and sincerely regret any inconvenience created by this voluntary product recall.”
Honda Recalls Its Smallest Car
May 2nd, 2013
The Honda Fit wasn’t quite fit for sale. This week, Honda announced that it is recalling about 44,000 of its 2012 and 2013 model year Fit Sport cars. The reason has to do with the car’s electronic stability control system, and the fix may be as simple as reprogramming the software.
According to an article in The New York Times:
Electronic stability control systems use sensors and a computer to determine if the vehicle is moving in a direction at odds with what the driver is doing with the steering wheel. The system then applies the brake on single wheels to try and correct the movement.
This type of scenario commonly happens when there is something on the road that affects the tires’ ability to grip, such as when you drive on black ice, or if there is oil or other chemical spillage on the road. But stability control can also kick into gear if you have a tire blow out, or other rare events.
The government has required electronic stability control on most consumer vehicles–all except the true “heavy-duty” trucks. These systems are estimated to reduce the number of single-vehicle accidents by about 34%, and the number of single-vehicle S.U.V. crashes by nearly 60%.
What happened with the Honda Fit Sport is that the car’s stability control system was programmed using one kind of tire–the Bridgestone Turanza. But then some Fit Sports came with Dunlop SP tires, which handle differently. For people who own a Honda Fit with Dunlop tires, a simple software update will recalibrate the stability control system and fix the problem.
One lesson for all of us: If you have a car with an electronic stability control system–and if your car is model year 2011 or later, chances are you do–then make sure you check the specs before purchasing new tires.
Cold Weather Safety Tips
January 17th, 2013
While many people are dreaming of summer sun and sand, North Carolinians are about to have a cold wake-up in the form of snow and ice tonight. Here are a few tips for how to stay safe in this type of extreme (for us) weather.
Dress in Layers
Five days ago, it was 75 degrees outside. Tonight, 2 to 4 inches of snow. How can you not love North Carolina weather? Dressing properly is not only about staying comfortable, it is also about helping your body maintain a proper body temperature.
So, how should you dress to play outside in the snow? According to KidsHealth.org, here’s what you (and your kids) should wear:
- long-sleeved undershirt (thermal or woolen)
- a turtleneck shirt
- one or two over-shirts
- a sweater
- long underwear (thermal or woolen)
- heavy pants (avoiding jeans or khakis because they don’t insulate well…waterproof ski pants are best)
- heavy socks
- a coat
- waterproof boots
- a scarf
- a hat
Okay, when you have finished laughing, note that the key point in this list is that you should dress in layers. Wearing two lighter-weight shirts is better than one heavier shirt because the air that is trapped between the two light-weight shirts acts as insulation to keep you warmer. Plus, as you get warmer or the temperature rises, you can start to remove some of the layers so you don’t sweat to death inside your clothes.
Drive Only If Necessary
Once snow starts falling or the road surfaces become slick, stay home unless you absolutely, positively have to be somewhere.
In the Northeast, where snow is a common event from October through March, people grow up learning how to drive in snow. Not so in North Carolina. Even a small amount of snow can lead to hazardous driving conditions, for many reasons. When cars drive over snow, the snow may compact into a slick surface, or the snow can melt and refreeze into a layer of ice. And as they say, just because you have 4–wheel-drive doesn’t mean you have 4-wheel-stop. No car or truck can properly steer or stop on ice.
Even if you grew up someplace snowy and understand the physics of driving in snow, the people around you may not be so experienced. You may be able to safely drive to the mall, but others around you may drive directly into the side of your car.
If you must leave your home, practice greater defensive driving. Drive slow enough for the road conditions AND for the skill levels of the other drivers. If you see someone slipping and sliding on the road in front of you, slow down and let them pull even farther ahead–you don’t want them sliding into you.
Also, remember to scrape all the snow and ice off ALL the windows of your vehicle–not just the front windshield. You need to be able to see what’s coming at you from all directions.
Remember Where You Live
If you live in Maine and a single snow could leave you stranded for a week, you’re right to go and stock up on groceries. But here in North Carolina, the snow rarely lasts 24 hours–most of the time it melts before my second cup of coffee.
There’s a joke around here that snow must make North Carolinians crave French toast because grocery stores are cleaned out of bread, milk, and eggs. Unless you have small children or a very special diet, there is really no reason to make a panicked trip to the supermarket. If you don’t buy the food before the snow, wait a day and the snow will be gone.
The Ice You See…
The greatest danger in a snow storm isn’t the snow, it’s the ice. And ice is not all created equal. The ice you see is less dangerous than the ice you can’t see.
If you look down at the road and see snow or a thick layer of snowy ice, you know to walk carefully. But some ice–known as “black ice”–is virtually invisible. This layer of ice is so transparent and thin that a paved road doesn’t really look much different than it usually does–the road surface still looks black, not white and snowy. But thin ice is just as slick as thick ice. Black ice is responsible for many, many motor vehicle wrecks and slip-and-fall accidents each year. My friend lost his father a few years ago when he walked out of his house and slipped on the thin layer of ice on the steps outside his front door. He hit his head and died a few weeks later.
After a snow or ice storm, take precautions when walking…even short distances. Look at the ground and see if it seems shinier than usual, and when you take a step, make sure you have secure footing before continuing on.
If you are driving, remember that bridges and overpasses freeze before other road surfaces do, and are more likely to be coated with black ice.
Take a Moment to Enjoy
Snow is such a rare occurrence in our part of North Carolina that we still get a child-like thrill at seeing the flakes fall. If you love snow, try to get out and play! And if you hate the cold, remember that the snow will pass very quickly and we’ll be back to 100-degree days before you know it.
Safe Snow Day, Everyone!
Inflatable Bounce Houses Cause Surprising Number of Injuries
November 27th, 2012
Get this: Everyday, 30 children in the United States are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries sustained in accidents that happen in those happy, jumpy inflatable bounce houses.
According to an article published in the journal Pediatrics, and reported on news.MSN.com, the number of bounce-house injuries have been increasing over the past few years. There were fewer than 1000 injures in 1995, and nearly 11,000 in 2010–a 15-fold increase.
“I was surprised by the number, especially by the rapid increase in the number of injuries,” said lead author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Any adult who has tried to supervise children in a bounce house know that it is nearly impossible to enforce rules–the kids are at a party… in a space of their own… in a place that seems soft and safe. The problems come from the bouncy nature of bounce houses: Kids bounce into each other, and out of the house onto the hard ground.
The most common injuries include broken bones, sprains, cuts, and concussions. Some accidents are fatal, usually involving children who hit their heads on a hard surface.
What to do? Experts recommend following manufacturers’ instructions, such as not overloading the play house with too many kids…not allowing younger, lighter kids to bounce with older, heavier kids…and forbidding flips and intentional bouncing into other children. Some suggest that the best way to keep young children safe is to not allow kids under age 6 to use bounce houses at all.
Obviously, it’s up to parents to provide whatever safety measures are necessary for their children, but this article is a wake-up call to everyone. The happy bounce house could bounce your kids right into the hospital.
To read the full article on news.MSN.com, click here: Kids’ injuries soar
Frightening and Infuriating Water Contamination in Wake Forest
November 7th, 2012
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a carcinogenic chemical, capable of causing liver tumors in laboratory animals. Although there have been no studies of the direct effects of TCE in humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified TCE as a “probable human carcinogen,” based on animal research and studies of individuals exposed to TCE on the job. Long-term or repeated exposure to TCE has been associated with damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.
In short, TCE is a toxic chemical that has the potential to cause serious health effects in people. And some people in Wake Forest, NC, have just found out that their drinking water has been contaminated with TCE for years. The homeowners didn’t know about it, but North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources knew. They knew for seven years, and didn’t tell the affected homeowners (so they continued to drink contaminated water) and they didn’t stop new homes from being built in the contamination zone (so families not only started drinking toxic water, but they also invested money in a property that others knew was contaminated).
This is a nightmare for the affected Wake Forest homeowners…and it should be frightening to everyone in North Carolina who believes that the government would never knowingly let people drink poison.
According to an article on the Huffington Post website, it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that the EPA called residents in the Stony Hill Road area of Wake Forest and told them that their water may contain TCE. Residents were warned that they shouldn’t drink, cook, or even bathe in their water.
“I’m furious,” homeowner Mark Stonefield said to WNCN. “I’m very upset about it. That’s the biggest problem I’ve had with this whole situation is the state knew about it in 2005. We bought this land in 2007 and built a house on it in 2008 and our kids have been drinking the water for over 4 years now and no one notified us there was even the possibility that the water could be contaminated.”
According to an article provided by the N.C. Division of Waste Management, there are two sources of ground water contamination: 7303 Stony Hill Road, the site of two former circuit board assembly companies, and a second site about a half mile away, on property that was once owned by the previous owner of the Stony Hill Road site.
The contamination is not limited to residents on Stony Hill Road. Several homes on Mangum Hollows Drive, also in Wake Forest, have also tested positive for TCE.
These contaminated sites are in an area that few would think would have this kind of toxicity issues–they are adjacent to Falls Lake State Park, and close to the tony Hasentree golf course and development, where houses have been listed for $1 million-plus. (To see a map of the affected locations, click here: Map of contaminated sites)
WHAT TO DO
If you live in an area affected by contamination, we recommend that you have your well water tested to see if your home has been affected. If so, please visit your physician and request a physical examination, including tests for kidney and liver function. Since those organs are most affected by TCE, it is good to get a baseline measure of their current status.
Also, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney about what legal steps you can take to help safeguard your family’s health and financial well-being. An attorney can look at your individual situation, assess the damages you’ve suffered, and help you fight for compensation.
“Our law firm is determined to do everything it can to bring justice for the residents who have suffered illness, fear, and the diminution of their property values as a result of this tragedy,” said Anne Duvoisin, an attorney at HensonFuerst. “Our firm is actively investigating these Wake Forest contamination cases.”
If you would like to speak with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at 1-800-4-LAWMED. HensonFuerst is here to help.
To read the full article on the Huffington Post website, click here: Wake Forest Water Contamination
Doctors Recommend Safety Rules for Cheerleaders
October 26th, 2012
What do you call an activity requires strength, stamina, flexibility, agility, planning, and coordination with team members? What if the participants were required to train with weight-training and aerobic exercises? And what if that activity was performed in gymnasiums, in stadiums, and on outdoor fields? And what if teams competed regionally and nationally? Sounds like a sport, right? Well, not according to sports authorities. For decades, even as Cheer has evolved from pompom waving to rough-and-tumble tumbling, sports experts have continually rejected the notion that Cheer is a sport. They call it an activity in support of “real” sports, like football and basketball, but not a sport in and of itself.
Now, finally, medical experts have weighed in, and they believe it is time for cheerleading to gain acceptance as an official sport. Yay! Gimme a “C”…gimme an “H”…gimme an “E”…well, you get the idea. We think it is a spectacular idea, and about time.
In 2011, we wrote a 3-part series about why Cheer should be recognized as a sport, namely because doing so would afford participants with more safety protections. According to an article on MedPageToday.com:
…the rate of catastrophic injuries — such as head or spine injuries resulting in death or permanent disability — is considerably higher for cheerleading than for other sports. Cheerleading has accounted for about two-thirds of all catastrophic injuries in female high school athletes over the past 25 years.
In addition, concussion rates have increased at a much faster pace in cheerleading compared with other sports.
In response, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has said that school sports associations should designate cheerleading as a sport, and to make it subject to safety rules and better supervision. That should include on-site athletic trainers, restrictions on difficult stunts in high school squads, limits on practice time, and better qualified coaches. In addition, just like other athletes, cheerleaders should be required to do conditioning exercises and undergo physical exams before joining the squad.
According to an article by The Associated Press:
“Not everyone is fully aware of how cheerleading has evolved over the last couple of decades. It used to be just standing on the sidelines and doing cheers and maybe a few jumps,” said Dr. Cynthia LaBella, a sports medicine specialist at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital and an author of the new policy….
Last year, there were almost 37,000 emergency room visits for cheerleading injuries among girls aged 6 to 22, according to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That’s more than four times higher than in 1980, when cheerleading was tamer.
Although some cheerleaders themselves think that rules will make the sport less exciting, sports medicine specialists are all for the proposed changes, which includes limiting the height of human pyramids in high school cheerleading to just two people, and that routines that include pyramids, tumbling, or tosses should not be performed on hard surfaces.
“Most serious injuries, including catastrophic ones, occur while performing complex stunts such as pyramids,” guidelines co-author Dr. Jeffrey Mjaanes, a member of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine & Fitness, said in an academy news release. “Simple steps to improve safety during these stunts could significantly decrease the injury rate and protect young cheerleaders.”
To read our 3-part blog series on making Cheer a sport, click here:
Cheerleaders Are Athletes, Part 1
Cheerleaders Are Athletes, Part 2: Just Chunk It
Cheerleaders Are Athletes, Part 3
Docs Warn of Trampoline Dangers for Kids
September 24th, 2012
“The home use of trampolines is strongly discouraged.”
That is the conclusion of a policy statement issued today by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the journal Pediatrics. According to an article on NBCnews.com, Dr. Michele LaBotz believes that pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use.
“This is not a toy. It’s a piece of equipment. We recommend that you not provide it for your family or your neighbors to use. But if you do use one, you need to be aware of the risks.”
Parents mistakenly see trampolines as benign playthings, LaBotz said.
“I think parents see the soft springy mat and they think it’s safe, like water,” LaBotz said. “What they don’t realize is that once you get it to bouncing, especially if there are multiple users, it can be dangerous. Bigger kids and adults like to rocket propel up the little kids, getting them to bounce higher than they would otherwise and if the kid comes down wrong, it is the same as falling 9 or 10 feet onto a hard surface.”
Each year, there are more than 100,000 trampoline-related injuries in the United States. One of the main issues is that trampoline safety information has not been widely disseminated, so parents and supervising adults aren’t aware of basic safety measures. For example, the most common causes of injuries include:
- Multiple Simultaneous Users. About three-quarters of injuries happen when multiple people use the trampoline at the same time, with smaller children taking the brunt of the damage. The problem isn’t just due to bodies colliding with one another–heavier users create more recoil of the mat, which can toss smaller kids around even if they are not near the other jumper.
- Falls. What goes up must come down…and kids who jump high fall even farther. In the 1990s, manufacturers made netting and perimeter enclosures available to the public. Interestingly, current evidence suggests that this has not significantly affected the proportions of injuries. In other words, the safety nets may do more to allay the fears of parents than to actually protect children.
- Impact with Frame and Springs. About 20% of trampoline injuries are due to hitting the springs or frame. As with netting, use of padding doesn’t seem to reduce these types of injuries.
- Lack of Appropriate Adult Supervision. While parents may watch children on the trampoline, up to one-half of injuries occurred despite adult supervision.
- Type of Activity. Somersaulting and flipping put jumpers at risk of head and neck injuries, many with permanent devastating consequences.
While pediatricians are advised to counsel families NOT to use trampolines recreationally, they acknowledge that some will persist. For those families, it is important for homeowners to verify that their insurance policies cover trampoline-reated claims, even if it means taking out a rider for the additional coverage…to insist that no more than one user jump at a time…that trampolines be set on a level surface clear of trees or other surrounding hazards…to inspect padding, net enclosures, and other parts regularly…discourage flips and somersaults…discourage trampoline use unless there is an ACTIVE and knowledgeable adult supervising the play.
As many of us heard growing up: “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” Unfortunately, many trampoline injuries result in permanent disabilities or scarring. Don’t let your child become a statistic.
To read the full article in Pediatrics, click here: Trampoline Safety in Childhood and Adolescence
To learn more about personal injury, visit our website at www.lawmed.com. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.