Grilling Brushes can Cause Life-Threatening Injuries

Barbeque brush bristles can cause serious injuries.

Did you know that the most common tool used to clean grills can also cause life-threatening injuries?

Experts warn that, if ingested, stray wire bristles from a grill cleaning brush can pierce a person’s throat or intestines, causing very serious injuries. Not many people are aware of this particular grilling danger, so you can help me spread the word.

If the griller uses an old, rusted wire brush to clean the grill, bristles can snap off while cleaning and end up in grilled meats. If the bristles are then ingested, they can tear up a person’s throat or digestive tract, sometimes requiring emergency surgery for removal.

This has happened to numerous victims who ended up having bristles surgically removed after they penetrated their intestines. Other victims of ingested wire bristles had to have them removed from their necks. Severe abdominal pain within 24 hours of eating grilled meat or neck pain upon swallowing were the symptoms of the injured patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control approximately 80,000 people wind up in the emergency each year after swallowing foreign objects, including wire bristles.

The cases can be hard to track, however, because a bristle (which is a very thin, minute piece of metal) can travel through a person’s body without them ever realizing it. The bristle just doesn’t get stuck on its journey.

Many doctors would most likely never suspect a wire barbecue brush bristle to be the cause of a patient’s severe abdominal pain, and often this will go undiagnosed.

Also, the bristles are so then, reports the CDC, they can be easily missed in a CT scan.

There are some things you can do to help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, your family or your friends when grilling. For starters, toss out the old brushes and instead use:

  • grill-cleaning stones or bricks
  • bristle-free brushes made of metal coil
  • grill brushes with nylon bristles

If you insist on using a wire brush with bristles, make sure it is in good condition. After cleaning the grill with it, wipe your grill with wet paper towels and inspect it thoroughly before cooking anything. If you find you are having abdominal pain within a day of eating grilled food, let your doctor know that you recently grilled out.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reviewing available grill-cleaning brush-related injury data to determine if a pattern of product defect could pose an unreasonable risk for injury or death. If so, a consumer warning , product recall or other regulatory action may occur.

Medical professionals or consumers should report these injuries to CPSC at

For more information on grilling safety, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Food Safety section.


How Safe is Your Child’s Car Seat for Holiday Travel?

Kay Van Wey warns about car seat safety for holiday traveling

Booster Seat Safety Ratings

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has categorized booster seats in terms of the highest safety ratings to help parents and caregivers make decisions about the appropriate product for their family. The booster seats were broken into three groups: best bets, good bets, and not recommended. The ratings examined how well the shoulder belt fit a test dummy of child size, so it’s important to realize that these classifications do not involve crash test ratings.

More than 27 different models qualified for the best bet rating, giving parents a multitude of options to choose from in both style and price. There were, however, five models that were classified as not recommended due to potential danger:

  • Diono Olympia
  • Diono Pacifica
  • Kids Embrace Batman
  • Safety 1st Alpha Elite
  • Safety 1st All in One

What is a Best Booster Seat?

A best bet booster seat is a product with a properly positioned belt for a 4-8 -year-old child to be used in any vehicle. Good bets were classified as those that provided acceptable belt fit in most cars, minivans or SUVs. Properly fitting a child into a car seat belt is critical for protecting them in accidents. Even minor accidents can result in serious injuries for the child when a car seat belt doesn’t fit properly. Both Diono models had issues with the shoulder belt fitting, while the lap belt fit was a problem with the Batman booster.

The majority of backless boosters making the best bet list could be acquired for between $20 and $60, giving parents many options in terms of style and price to fit their needs.

Top Car Seat Tips

Knowing how to select and properly use a car seat is critical for protecting your child every time you’re in the car.

  1. For the best level of protection, keep babies in rear-facing seats for as long as you can. Typically parents can do this until the child is at least two years old. Rear-facing seats provide the highest level of protection for the spine, head, and neck. In the event that the airbag does deploy, rear-facing seats provide protection for children from this event.
  2. When the child has outgrown a rear-facing seat, it’s time to begin investigating options for a forward-facing car seat.
  3. Always keep the car seat located in the rear of the car, and refer to the labels on the product to determine the best product for your family. Most car seats now include labels about weight restrictions so that you can be sure your child will be protected in the event of an accident.
  4. Finally, take care to install the product properly. Tug the base of the car seat where the seatbelt passes through it. If the product moves more than an inch, you need to adjust the product for maximum safety. When the product has been installed properly, the car seat shouldn’t move any more than 1 inch.

When you have questions about installing or using car seats properly, you can communicate with a child car seat safety technician in your area to get your questions answered and give you peace of mind about the product you are using. Remember, you are your child’s best advocate, so keep them safe this holiday season with these simple safety tips.



Tide Laundry Pods Pose Deadly Threat to Young Children

Tide Laundry Pod risks and dangers
photo credit: JeepersMedia via photopin cc

As a mother of two boys, I was shocked to read in the recent news of children who were ingesting Tide laundry pods and losing their lives. When a mother in Florida last year checked in on her baby, she discovered that her 7-month-old had somehow gotten ahold of a Tide laundry pod. The child, who had been sleeping in a laundry basket with the detergent pod, was taken to the hospital immediately.

Tragically, even though the child was taken to the hospital immediately, it was already too late. He had already passed away from the poisoning. My heart ached for this mother, and I cannot imagine the suffering she and her family must have gone through as a result of such a senseless death of a precious baby.

My two boys could have very easily done the same thing. These are popular with busy moms everywhere, and at one time or another, we have all had them in our households. Unfortunately, this is not the first parent who has discovered the dangerous nature of these convenient laundry pods. Poison Control centers across the country have logged thousands of calls from panicked parents in the same scenario.

Academic research suggests that it’s a growing epidemic, with more than 17,000 children every year under the age of 6 swallowing the contents of the laundry pods. The colorful nature and small size of the packages make them attractive for children, and many parents are unaware of the serious nature of a poison incident from the pods. This makes for a deadly combination. Children might mistake the packages for candy, which is why it’s essential they are stored out of reach of children to begin with.

The reaction from swallowing the contents varies by child, but many children have immediate responses to the pods. Violent vomiting or respiratory distress are two of the most common responses, but a child may also experience temporary loss of vision. These outcomes are especially scary for younger children who cannot voice what is happening to them, leading a parent to panic very quickly.

The pods are definitely a cause for concern.  The CDC has actually seen a general decline in accidental ingestion of household product poisonings over the past several years. However,  the numbers related to laundry pod poisonings are only climbing.

Legislators have finally started to react about the lack of labeling on the products. They are demanding an awareness campaign that would help clue parents in to the need to store these products in a locked closet or higher location, out of reach of children.

Senior United States Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, also asked in 2012 that the products be placed in child-proof packaging to reduce the chances that a child can even access the original packaging containers. In response, Tide did improve the packaging with a double lock on the lids, but many parents remove these lids for ease of access. If children have any access to the laundry area or container where the pods are stored, they should be moved right away to limit the chances of a serious accidental poisoning or death.

While convenient and popular, these laundry pods carry a serious poison risk for children of all ages. Keep them out of reach!

photo credit: JeepersMedia via photopin cc


Safety Tips to Avoid Gas Grilling Fires and Explosions

Kay Van Wey advokaytes of gas grill fires and safety tips.It’s time to pull the grills out an invite the friends to sit by the pool and enjoy a relaxing cookout while catching up. Nobody really thinks about anything dangerous occurring at a neighborhood cookout, and the last thing anybody wants is for an injury to occur. Unfortunately, though, gas grills can cause injuries in the form of serious burns.

The National Fire Protection Association informs us that there are roughly 7,000 gas grill fires each year in the United States.

With the pressing of a button an exploding fireball can shoot out too quickly for you to defend yourself. Thousands of people experience this each year, and you need to be aware of the possibility of it happening while you are grilling. There are safety measures that you should be aware of to deter a serious burn injury from a grill.

Many of us know of the story of sports anchor Hannah Storm, who, unfortunately, experienced this first-hand. A fire ball shot out at her from her gas grill leaving her with first and second-degree burns on her face, chest and hands. She now uses her story to warn others that the same thing can happen to them.

Hannah wants others to know,

“…it was a very simple mistake that I made, but it was a very common mistake. People all over the world grill and they grill all the time, and most of the people that I know really don’t understand the proper procedures…”

Don’t Allow Propane to Pool

It can happen quite easily. How many times have you turned on your gas grill, but it fails to light the first time? When this happens, the propane begins to pool, and it is heavier than air under any conditions.  When you attempt to relight it, boom! An explosion happens that quickly.

If you start your grill up and forget about it, walk inside for a moment, then come back and light it, an explosion can occur. You should always start your grill with the lid up. If flames go out, open it up and make sure the propane is shut off. Let it air out for a couple of minutes, then turn it on and light it again.

Be aware that propane buildup is more likely during cold weather grilling!

Unfortunately, victims like Hannah, who re-lit the grill before letting the air out, suffered painful consequences that we all can learn from. It is an easy mistake to make, and many people are simply unaware of the risks.

Check for a Crack in the Line

Examine the line that leads from your propane tank to the grill to ensure there are no cracks. If there are, that could mean a leak that could lead to an explosion. Check for this by putting soapy water along the line. Turn on the gas and watch to see if the soapy water bubbles. If so, you have a leak. Turn the gas off and do not use the grill until it is fixed properly.

Gas Grills are Becoming Safer

Thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSP), the grilling industry has developed safety standards to prevent the over-filling of propane tanks. This will prevent leaks that lead to fires and explosions.

Now, an over-fill prevention device must be installed on all new gas tanks. Newer tanks have lobes with three prongs, while older ones have 5 prongs. If you have one of the older tanks, make sure you trade it for a new one immediately.

Here are some further tips from CPSC to reduce the risk of an explosion while grilling:

  • Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
  • Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
  • Always keep propane gas containers upright.
  • Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors.
  • Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
  • Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.

It is my hope that you use proper precautions, and that you will be aware and hopefully avoid any type of injury while grilling out. Share these tips with your family and friends to ensure everybody has a safe, enjoyable summer. After all, cookouts with friends and family should be enjoyable, relaxing times! Stay safe and enjoy your summer.