SAFETY WARN­ING FOR IN­FLAT­ABLE BEDS

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer at Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

Air-filled loungers were one of the must-have Christ­mas presents for 2016 and had been heav­ily pro­moted via so­cial me­dia and at pop-up stalls in shop­ping cen­tres.

Pho­tos and videos in­di­cate the prod­ucts are able to be used in wa­ter, but two near-drown­ings in home swim­ming pools dur­ing the fes­tive pe­riod have prompted drown­ing risk warn­ings from a num­ber of agen­cies in­clud­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion WA.

The in­flat­able loungers are light­weight fab­ric tubes (some­times plas­tic-lined), which you fill with air us­ing a fast side-to-side mo­tion, to make a tem­po­rary chair or bed.

They have been around since 2014 and there had been no re­ported safety is­sues. That was un­til two sep­a­rate vi­ral Face­book posts about de­fla­tion of the loungers around peo­ple ly­ing on them in swim­ming pools.

A New South Wales woman posted an im­age of her fa­ther said to be taken mo­ments be­fore he was nearly suf­fo­cated in the wa­ter and a Mel­bourne para­medic said her 12-year-old daugh­ter had al­most drowned when she be­came en­tan­gled in one.

Con­sumer agen­cies across Aus­tralia are now in­ves­ti­gat­ing the dan­gers as­so­ci­ated with these prod­ucts and are rec­om­mend­ing they are not used in wa­ter. The mar­ket­ing of these loungers, un­der a range of dif­fer­ent brand names, of­ten shows them be­ing used for camp­ing, pic­nics or sun­bathing pool­side or at the beach. To our knowl­edge, use of the prod­ucts on dry land has not re­sulted in any ac­ci­dents and presents min­i­mal risk.

Our con­cerns re­late to re­tail­ers sell­ing this prod­uct as a flota­tion de­vice. We be­lieve there may be a risk of un­ex­pected de­fla­tion and the po­ten­tial for the clingy ma­te­rial to en­velop a per­son’s face and body, preventing them from swim­ming to the sur­face and even caus­ing suf­fo­ca­tion.

While there have been no in­ci­dents re­ported in WA and we have re­ceived no com­plaints, the re­cent near-drown­ing in­ci­dents in the East­ern States are enough to make us is­sue this warn­ing.

Aus­tralia’s prod­uct safety reg­u­la­tors are mak­ing in­quiries with rel­e­vant sup­pli­ers, in­ter­na­tional prod­uct safety reg­u­la­tors and oth­ers to help im­ple­ment an ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse. How­ever, un­til fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions are car­ried out and as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, we urge own­ers of these air loungers not to use them in wa­ter.

Adults are ad­vised to take steps to re­move in­flat­able air loungers from lo­ca­tions in or around wa­ter and to en­sure they are not used by chil­dren as flota­tion de­vices.

WA con­sumers who may have been in­volved in an in­ci­dent re­gard­ing this prod­uct should email con­sumer@com­merce.wa. gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

Pic­ture: Com­pli­ance and Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion WA warns peo­ple against us­ing air loungers in wa­ter.

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