ACCC warns about holiday hazards

Published: 
20 Apr 2011

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is urging holiday makers to take extra care with some common outdoor and travel related products which can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

“With so many people going on road trips, camping trips and other short holidays, it’s vital to know the dangers associated with certain products and how to use them safely,” acting ACCC chairman Michael Schaper said.

"For example, motor vehicle recovery straps, or snatch straps are a convenient way to retrieve a bogged vehicle, but they can be extremely dangerous if they’re used unsafely.

“Tow hooks can shear from vehicles and recoil at great force if the strap is incorrectly attached to the vehicle or if it’s not rated for the weight of the vehicle it’s pulling, potentially causing serious injury or even death.

"Another example is that many heating appliances and portable camping products produce carbon monoxide – which is a poisonous gas undetectable by the human senses. These products can cause accidental poisoning, and potentially death, if they’re not used properly.”

The ACCC has developed a series of tips to help consumers be safe this Easter. These include:

  • learn the safe use of vehicle recovery straps. Many four-wheel driving clubs and associations run courses with these instructions
  • avoid stretching elastic luggage straps too far as they can rebound and cause serious eye, facial and chest injuries. Consider using an alternative to elastic luggage straps such as rope or tie down straps.
  • if using a child car seat, make sure it is suitable for your type of car and is properly fitted and adjusted. The child seat restraint or harness should fit snugly with no slack and should not be twisted
  • vehicle jacks that come with cars are usually designed for changing tyres only, so do not use one for getting under your car. Doing so could cause death or serious injury as the vehicle may fall on you
  • if you need to use portable cookers, heaters and barbeques in a covered area (for example, if it’s raining), make sure that the area is well ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide gas poisoning
  • check fire danger labels on children’s nightwear – these labels are required by law – and make sure children who are wearing high fire risk clothing are well away from open heat sources
  • remember that all clothing is flammable, so be extra careful around campfires, fireplaces, heaters and barbeques. Loose-fitting clothing, which can more easily come
    into contact with an open flame, can be particularly dangerous
  • if staying somewhere with a pool or spa, check for unsafe features like open outlets and filters that could trap body parts or cause serious injuries
  • remember that even if children are using flotation aids and toys in the water, adults should still supervise them
  • always supervise children in any rooms with reachable blind or curtain cords. Accidental strangulation can happen very quickly, so never leave children alone in these rooms, even for a short while
  • if taking portable cots or playpens to your holiday accommodation, remember to place them clear of potential hazards such as powerpoints, heaters, appliances and blind or curtain cords.

Consumers can receive more valuable tips by joining the ACCC’s online EasterSafe campaign via Twitter by following @ProductSafetyAU. More information on the campaign is available at: www.productsafety.gov.au/eastersafe

For more information on product safety matters, visit www.productsafety.gov.au or call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.

Contact details

Media inquiries

Dr Michael Schaper, Acting Chairman, (02) 6243 1115

Mr Brent Rebecca, Media, (02) 6243 1317 or 0408 995 408

Release # NR 070/11

General inquiries

Infocentre 1300 302 502

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission