U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

Happy Christmas & Let’s All Stay Safe In Our Homes !

2009-12-20:  ‘T’is the Season to be jolly !   It is also the time when we remember family and friends … far and near … and those souls, no longer with us, who remain in our hearts.  Happy Christmas everyone !   And it will be better in 2010 !!

As a special treat … let’s keep Uncle Gaybo (a famous Irish television personality) happy … and give each other the gift of ‘Safety’ !


In a previous post concerning the MACLAREN Baby Strollers, I referred to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  A few days ago, on 14th December 2009, the Commission issued the following Seasonal Press Release #10-065 …

Ten Tips to Keep Your Holiday Home Fire and Injury Free: Fires Lead the List of Hazards Related to Holiday Decorations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the holiday season approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to make safety a factor in holiday decorating.  Whether it is careful candle placement or checking the warning label on the holiday lights, simple safety steps can go a long way in preventing fires and injuries this year.

Annually, during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating.  In addition, Christmas trees are involved in hundreds of fires resulting in an average of 15 deaths and $13 million dollars in property damage annually.  Candle-related fires lead the list of hazards averaging more than 12,000 a year, resulting in 150 deaths and $393 million in property damage.

“Holiday decorating related fires and injuries most often involve defective holiday lights, unattended candles and dried-out Christmas trees”, said CPSC Chairperson Inez Tenenbaum.  “We are providing this list of 10 Simple Safety Steps to help keep your holiday home safe.”

Use the Following 10 Safety Tips when Decorating This Year:

Christmas Trees & Decorations

1.    When purchasing an Artificial Tree, DO look for the label “Fire Resistant”.  Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree is more resistant to catching fire.  [In Ireland, ask anyway !]

2.    When purchasing a Live Tree, DO check for freshness.  A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers.  The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

3.    When Setting Up A Tree at home, DO place it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators.  Because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, be sure to monitor water levels and keep the stand filled with water.  Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.

4.    In homes with Young Children, DO take special care to avoid sharp, weighted or breakable decorations, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble sweets or food that may tempt a child to eat them.

Christmas Lights

5.    Indoors or Outside, DO use only lights that have been tested for safety by an independent, accredited testing laboratory … such as UL (USA) or TÜV (Germany).

6.    Check each Set of Lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.  Throw out, and carefully dispose of, damaged sets.  DON’T use electric lights on a metallic tree.

7.    If using an Electric Extension Cable, DO make sure it is rated for the intended use.

8.    When using Lights Outdoors, DO check labels to be sure the lights have been approved for outdoor use and only plug them into an external, weather and circuit-breaker protected socket outlet.


9.    Always keep Burning Candles within sight.  DO extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.

10.  DO keep Lighted Candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

Get more Christmas Decorating Safety Tips at CPSC’s WebSite … www.cpsc.gov/


My Questions:  In Ireland … is our Consumer Protection Legislation adequate ?   More importantly … is compliance adequately monitored ?   Relating to the critical area of fire safety in the home … do we have any, or sufficient, independent and accredited product testing laboratories ?




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MACLAREN Strollers – Bad Consumer Protection in Europe ?

2009-11-11:  In the case of the recent recall of MACLAREN Baby Strollers in the USA … it is troubling to witness what is NOT happening here in Europe … either at the level of the European Union (EU) and its Institutions … or, at national level, in EU Member States.

ALL are failing the European Consumer !!

IF the Maclaren Stroller’s hinge mechanism poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to a child when a consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller … ANDMaclaren has received 15 reports of children placing their finger in the stroller’s hinge mechanism, resulting in 12 reports of fingertip amputations in the United States … HOW ARE THESE PRODUCTS SAFE IN EUROPE ????

Maclaren Baby Strollers are sold in the Americas, Oceania … and throughout Europe and Asia …

Colour photograph of one model of the Recalled MACLAREN Baby Strollers in the USA.  Photograph from U.S. CPSC WebSite.
Colour photograph of one model of the Recalled MACLAREN Baby Strollers in the USA. Photograph from U.S. CPSC WebSite. Click to enlarge.


On 9th November 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)www.cpsc.gov … issued the following Press Release #10-033 …

Maclaren USA Recalls to Repair Strollers Following Fingertip Amputations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in co-operation 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.

Name of Product:  Maclaren Strollers

Units:  About one million

Distributor:  Maclaren USA, Inc., of South Norwalk, Conn.

Hazard:  The stroller’s hinge mechanism poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller.

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 15 reports of children placing their finger in the stroller’s hinge mechanism, resulting in 12 reports of fingertip amputations in the United States.

Description:  This recall involves all Maclaren single and double umbrella strollers.  The word “Maclaren” is printed on the stroller.  The affected models included Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, TechnoXLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller.

Sold at:  Babies’R’Us, Target and other juvenile product and mass merchandise retailers nationwide from 1999 through November 2009 for between $100 and $360.

Manufactured in:  China

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled strollers and contact Maclaren USA to receive a free repair kit.

Consumer Contact:  For additional information, contact Maclaren USA toll-free at (877) 688-2326 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at  http://recall.maclarenbaby.com/

To see this recall on CPSC’s WebSite, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10033.html


What is Maclaren itself saying on its own  U.S. WebSite ?   Bear in mind that standards … no matter where their origin … are never perfect, and are always requiring revision and regular updates.


Consistent with our unwavering commitment to child safety we are providing U.S. consumers notice of a voluntary recall of all Maclaren umbrella strollers sold in the U.S.  In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, we are providing free of charge to all affected consumers and retailers a kit to cover the stroller’s hinge mechanism, which poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller.  The affected models include Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller.

Maclaren USA’s Umbrella Strollers meet all U.S. ASTM & JPMA compliance standards.  These certifications guarantee our umbrella strollers meet the maximum safety standards available.  The voluntary recall is to alert the operator when opening or closing the stroller of the possible risk of injury.

Safety is our first priority and through this voluntary effort we urge consumers to contact us immediately to obtain the kit which consists of hinge covers designed specifically to fit all Maclaren strollers.

Maclaren stresses all operators read the instruction manual prior to use which contains valuable safety tips and service recommendations.


Even though it is slightly premature, by just a few weeks, to be quoting what the Consolidated European Union Treaties, as amended by the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, have to say about Consumer Protection … it still makes interesting reading … and, anyway, the legal intent of Article 169 was not actually amended by the Lisbon Treaty …

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Title XV

Article 169

1.  In order to promote the interests of consumers and to ensure a high level of consumer protection, the Union shall contribute to protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, as well as to promoting their right to information, education and to organise themselves in order to safeguard their interests.

2.  The Union shall contribute to the attainment of the objectives referred to in paragraph 1 through:

     (a) measures adopted pursuant to Article 114 in the context of the completion of the internal market ;

     (b) measures which support, supplement and monitor the policy pursued by the Member States.

3.  The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt the measures referred to in paragraph 2(b).

4.  Measures adopted pursuant to paragraph 3 shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent protective measures.  Such measures must be compatible with the Treaties.  The Commission shall be notified of them.




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