Consumer Product Safety Commission

4 Reasons SaferProducts.gov is Your Key to a Safer Holiday Season

Holiday shopping season is upon us, and consumers across the country are trying to find the perfect safe gifts for their family and friends. To be an informed consumer, and to minimize the stress of holiday shopping, consumers should visit SaferProducts.gov. Managed by the U.S.  Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), SaferProducts.gov is a safety database where consumers can search for reports of harm associated with a product before purchasing it, or submit their own report to help other consumers.

Here are 4 reasons why you should visit SaferProducts.gov this year in order to have a safer holiday season:

Most Consumers Don’t Know About Unsafe Products

Most consumers don’t know about unsafe products in the marketplace, other than hearing about an occasional product recall. Secrecy rules in the Consumer Product Safety Act prevent the CPSC from warning the public about specific hazards until manufacturers agree to do so. This can lead to a delayed response to serious product safety issues and consumers may never learn that some of the items in their homes pose serious risks.

SaferProducts.gov seeks to be a useful source of information for consumers. Consumers can submit reports of harm to SaferProducts.gov and these reports, if they meet certain criteria, are available to the public. SaferProducts.gov also includes information about recalled products. Some products recalled this past year which may have never crossed your newsfeed include Ikea Malm dressers, hoverboards, Liquid Plumr, Cannondale commuter bicycles, and Starbucks stainless streel straws. SaferProducts.gov can help you identify these and other potential hazards so you can remove them from your home or avoid purchasing them in the first place.

Five Years Worth of Data Can Help You Avoid Dangerous Products

The SaferProducts.gov database contains nearly 30,000 reports of harmful products that consumers should take care to avoid. A recent analysis by Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Kids in Danger, Public Citizen, and US Public Interest Research Group highlighted some of the most significant trends in the data, including the fact that many of the reports are concentrated among just ten manufacturers.

Some level of injury is mentioned in 31% of the reports, highlighting the importance of knowing about and removing potentially dangerous items from the home. In addition, 90 fatalities have been reported to the database, with over half of them involving children aged 12 or under. It’s wise to investigate whether the products that your children come into contact with on a regular basis have been reported to the database.

The analysis also identified the prominence of appliances in the reports within the database. So before you grab that toaster off the store shelf, check to see if it has been reported to SaferProducts.gov.

Recalls Are the Primary Tool CPSC Uses to Protect Consumers

While the CPSC has a variety of tools to prevent dangerous products from ending up in consumers’ homes – from educating consumers to banning dangerous products – recalls are the primary tool. SaferProducts.gov is an important component of this recall process. When consumers report issues with products in their homes, government officials can act to investigate the item. If necessary, they’ll work with the manufacturer to implement a recall program.

The SaferProducts.gov database is a critical feature of the CPSC’s work. The more the public utilizes it, the stronger it will become. To increase the use of SaferProducts.gov, the nation’s leading consumer groups have launched a social media campaign to spread the word and encourage more consumers to use the database. You can contribute to the conversation on Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtags #5YearsLive, #SaferHolidays, and #SaferShopping.

It Could Save a Loved One’s Life

The consequences of unsafe products can be very serious. The most important reason to use SaferProducts.gov is that you can save the life of a loved one or prevent a serious injury. Don’t add stress to the holiday season by wondering whether you’re buying safe products for your children. Researching holiday gifts on SaferProducts.gov before you make a purchase is a great way to protect your loved ones.

Make sure you visit SaferProducts.gov as you wrap up your holiday shopping this season. Encourage your friends and family to utilize the database. Also, share this information with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Have a safe and happy holiday!