SAFETY WARNING FOR INFLATABLE BEDS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.
Consumer Protection WA warns people against using air loungers in water.