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SAFETY TIPS FOR POOL OWNERS

Posted on Friday, July 31st, 2015 at 2:19 pm    

A recent article in the LNP reported on a tragic incident where a 23-month-old boy was rescued from his family’s backyard pool. First responders administered CPR to the little boy until he regained a pulse, and then he was LifeFlighted to the Hershey Medical Center.

According to the article in LNP, the little boy’s parents told police that he was out of sight for less than 5 minutes before he was found unresponsive in the pool.

This tragic incident reminds us just how dangerous a backyard swimming pool can be. The American Red Cross and poolsafety.gov offer several helpful tips for maintaining home pool safety.

1. Secure your pool with appropriate barriers.
Be sure to check local ordinances and codes for safety requirements.
The Red Cross recommends that you surround your pool with a 4’ fence or barrier with a self-closing self-latching gate. Some safety organizations recommend that the fence or barrier be at least 6’ high, equipped with a locked gate to keep children, etc., out when there is no supervision.
Consider installing a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool area.

2. Keep children under active supervision at all time.
Keep young children within arm’s reach at or near the pool

3. Never allow anyone to swim alone.

4. Establish and enforce safety rules.
Make sure everyone in the household knowns how to swim.
Such rules should encourage safe behavior, such as no diving, and staying away from drain covers.

5. Know how to respond in case of an emergency.
Be sure to have appropriate safety equipment, such as rescue devices, on hand near the pool.
Be sure everyone in the household knows what to do in case of an emergency, such as basic first aid skills, water safety rules, and CPR.

Source: Articles appearing at redcross.org titled “Home Pool Safety” and poolsafety.gov titled “Staying Safe in Residential Pools”

GM’s OnSTAR UPGRADED TO PREDICT INJURY SEVERITY IN A CRASH

Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 at 1:43 pm    

According to a report in USA Today, GM recently announced that it is introducing new technology that it believes will accurately predict the severity of injuries suffered by individuals in an automobile collision. The new technology, called Injury Severity Prediction, will be available as a part of the OnStar subscription and will be included in even the entry level subscription.

Injury Severity Prediction by GM will be available on any Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac equipped with the basic OnStar subscription.

GM worked with the University of Michigan’s International Center for Automotive Medicine over the past four years to develop the system. According to the article, the algorithm developed by GM analyzes such information as force and direction of impact to predict the severity of the crash and victim’s injuries. This information is then relayed to OnStar advisors who can then relay the severity rating to the 911 center which can use the information to adjust the level and priority of response dispatched to the crash scene.

Jeff Boyer, GM’s vice president of global vehicle safety stated, “This service enables first responders to better treat injuries today, and in the long run, it will allow us to prevent certain injuries from occurring. With access to this information, our engineers can analyze today’s safety systems to identify those features most effective in preventing severe injuries in the future.”

OnStar responds to more than 5,000 crashes every month.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com entitled GM’s OnStar predicts injury severity to help crash victims on June 11, 2015.

WARNING: HOT CARS CAN BE DEADLY

Posted on Friday, July 24th, 2015 at 2:11 pm    

According to KidsAndCars .org, an average of 37 children die each year of heat stroke after being left in a hot car. As surprising as it may seem, many of the deaths occur when overstressed parents forgot that their children were in the back seat of the car or knowingly left the child in the car just for a minute, not realizing how quickly the temperature in the car can rise to extremely dangerous levels. For example, if it in only 70 degrees outside, a car can quickly reach more than 120 degrees inside.

Accordingly, Consumer Reports offers these tips to help avoid this sort of heartbreaking catastrophe and to make sure no child is left in a vehicle.

• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, not even for a minute. Not only is this behavior extremely dangerous, in most states it is a violation of the law.
• Set up a cell phone reminder for yourself to be sure you have gotten the children safely to their destination.
• Always check the car to make sure that all occupants leave the vehicle or are carried out when unloading.
• Locking the door with a key, rather with a remote, can force you to take one last look in the car before leaving it.
• Always lock your car and keep keys and remotes away from children.
• Keep a stuffed animal on the front passenger seat when carrying a child in the back seat to serve as a reminder that there is a child in the back seat.
• Put something on the back seat you will need, such as your purse, briefcase or cellphone.
• Have a plan with your childcare provider that they will call you if your child does not show up as planned.
• If you see a child alone in a car, especially if they seem hot, call 911 immediately to get help getting them out of the vehicle.

Source: An article appearing at consumerreports.org titled “Hot cars: A deadly danger that can happen to anyone”, dated May 22, 2015.

TAKATA STOPS MAKING DEFECTIVE AIRBAG INFLATORS

Posted on Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 1:47 pm    

Airbag manufacturer Takata, which has been plagued by defective airbags, recently announced that it will stop producing the driver-side inflaters that have been tied to its defective airbags. To date, approximately 34 million cars have been recalled because they are equipped with the defective Takata airbags. This is the largest recall in American history.

However, Takata said that it will continue to use ammonia nitrate as a propellant in its airbags stating that it has reformulated the nitrate oxide to make it safe and stable.

According to the New York Times article reporting Takata’s announcement, some consumers are still facing delays in repairing their cars and many have just learned of the airbag problems in spite of recalls that have been in place for months. You can find out if your vehicle is being recall for defective Takata airbags by going to the manufacturer’s website and entering the vehicle VIN or vehicle identification number.

In order to meet the demand for replacement parts, Takata has been working with its competitors to produce replacement kits.

Source: Article appearing at nytimes.com on June 1, 2015 entitled Takata Says It Will No Longer Make Side Inflater Linked to Airbag Defect by Danielle Ivory and Hiroko Tabuchi.

SEMIAUTONOMOUS DRIVNG APPEARING ON SOME 2016 MODELS

Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2015 at 5:58 pm    

According to The New York Times, at least two automakers are planning to introduce a version of autopilot on some of their 2016 models. Sometime this spring, Volvo plans to introduce a version of its 2016 XC90 which will essentially provide autopilot capabilities at lower speeds. Volvo autopilot is intended for traffic jams and allows the SUV to take over both the steering and throttle to follow the car in front of it at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. A spokesman for Volvo stated, “We’re taking out the part of people’s commute that they don’t like”. Volvo still expects drivers to stay engaged and keep their hands on the wheel.

Audi also plans to offer a similar feature in January, 2016 on its new Q7 SUV which would allow the car to operate itself up to 40 mph. Audi states drivers will need to touch the wheel every 10 seconds to maintain the autonomous driving.

A spokesman for Audi noted that its current active safety package which is a $2,550 option which includes adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and blind-spot detection has been selling well with about 60% of its A6 buyers paying for the option.

Another safety feature which started as an option in luxury vehicles was the rearview camera. NHTSA is requiring that such cameras be in place on all new vehicles by 2018.

Interestingly, a spokesman for Rolls-Royce reported that Rolls-Royces has no plans to offer such driving features in its cars.

The Rolls-Royce spokesman noted that while its cars include multiple sensors, infrared scanners, and even visual heads-up display to feed information to the driver, the company intends to keep such sensor technology largely operating in the background. Rolls spokesman stated that “Our customers don’t want a bunch of things beeping or buzzing at them. They’re not spending this kind of money to be told how to drive, or to sit at the wheel but have the car do the work. They want to keep the control themselves over that experience.”

The Rolls spokesman added “Most customers already have an autonomous driver, it’s called a chauffeur.”

Source: Article appearing in The New York Times on April 2, 2015 entitled Semiautonomous Driving Arrives, Feature by Feature by Aaron M. Kessler and Bill Vlasic.

FEDS INVESTIGATING LUMBER LIQUIDATORS LAMINATE FLOORING

Posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 at 7:44 pm    

In a recent news story, 60 Minutes reported that the laminated wood which Lumber Liquidators was selling sourced from suppliers in China contained higher levels of formaldehyde than its domestically sourced laminates and similar laminates sold by competitors. Federal regulators have confirmed that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating the level of formaldehyde contained in the laminated wood flooring sold by the lumber company.

According to an article appearing in Consumerist.com by Chris Morran, “Formaldehyde is commonly and safely used in the manufacture of laminated wood flooring, but it has to be used sparingly so that the chemical dissipates quickly. If an excess of formaldehyde is used it can remain in the laminated wood and gradually be emitted over time. Prolonged, continued exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to numerous health problems ranging from nausea to increased cancer risk. Children are more susceptible than adults to the toxic effects of formaldehyde.”

The article also noted that the chairman of the CPSC stated that Lumber Liquidators has been cooperative with their investigation thus far.

In addition to being investigated by the CPSC, the article reported that Lumber Liquidators has recently been sued by a family in California. The plaintiffs in that case are seeking class action status to include other Californians who have purchased similar flooring.

Source: Article appearing at Consumerist.com by Chris Morran entitled Feds Investigating Lumber Liquidators Over Formaldehyde Allegations dated March 25, 2015.

NHTSA SAYS IT WON’T PROBE CHRYSLER/DODGE MINIVAN STALLING

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2015 at 2:19 pm    

NHTSA announced that it will not investigate complaints concerning Fiat Chrysler minivans stalling after refueling.

According to an AP article, NHTSA acknowledged that 720 complaints were filed with NHTSA and Chrysler about the problem occurring in Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan vans.

A New Jersey man had filed a petition with the agency in July, 2014 requesting that NHTSA investigate the Dodge Caravans after his 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan began stalling after the tank was filled. He stated that the van stalled on his wife without warning while she was driving on a freeway. Further, he noted that “stalling without warning represents an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety, and the agency should open a preliminary evaluation. “

However, the agency concluded that further investigation is unlikely to find a safety defect because the stalling occurs infrequently and at low speeds. It also noted that it has no reports of crashes or injuries from the problem.

According to the AP article, NHTSA wrote in documents posted on its website that “Given the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA’s limited resources to best accomplish the agency’s safety mission, the petition is denied.”

Source: Associated Press article entitled Feds won’t probe Chrysler, Dodge minivan stalling posted at www.usatoday.com on April 8, 2015.

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE TAKATA AIR BAG RECALL

Posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 at 3:11 pm    

The number of vehicles being recalled for defective Takata air bags has now reached almost 34 million making it the largest automotive recall in history. So many consumers have been trying to get into the NHTSA website that the site incurred momentary outages.

Here are a few things that you need to know about the recall:

1. Covered Vehicles:
To find out if your vehicle is being recalled, you can go to SaferCar.gov or to the individual automobile manufacturer’s website and enter the vehicle identification (VIN) number.

2. Parts Availability:
In most cases parts are available to make the necessary repairs. According to Takata it has parts available to replace air bags in most models. In addition, manufacturer Honda and other manufacturers have looked to other suppliers for replacement parts.

3. Affected Manufacturer:
The recall affects almost every automaker. Honda has the most automobiles recalled for defective Takata air bags. However, other manufacturers affected include Toyota, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Saab, and Nissan.

4. Who Pays For The Repairs?
The recall repairs are free at dealerships. The consumer is not required to pay for the repairs.

Source: An article appearing in USA Today entitled 7 Facts About the Takata Recall by Chris Woodyard appearing on Friday, May 22, 2015.