Maryanne McGerty-Sieber, US Product Safety Investigator, discussed the agency’s work in regulating over 15,000 products, testing and investigating claims against ‘everything you touch from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed.’
CPSC oversees the safety of all items sold to US residents on US soil, including mail-order and online products, original buyers or second-hand owners, for any problem including misuse. She discussed recent recalls and reminded us that all recalls – as well as repair, replacement or refund information are archived on the CPSC.gov website, easily available when you’re thrift shopping or at a garage sale. Maryanne recommends that some items never be passed on or bought second-hand, car seats and bike helmets. Too much unseen damage may have occurred to these items, making them unsafe for use. As the holidays approach she offered tips on holiday safety, check all parts of space heaters and make sure they are away from curtains, walls and bedding, check extension cords for all lights and displays and never use indoor products outdoors, check the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and never use grill or kerosene devices indoors. Finally – a gift guide. If you’re buying bikes, skates or scooters, buy protective gear to go with them, when buying games or construction sets, remember that younger children may have access to them and could swallow the smaller parts, she always recommends, buy ‘age appropriate’ toys for the sake of safety.