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Industry Pushes for Graduated Teen Licensing
By Arthur D. Postal

Melissa Shelk, vice president of federal affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA), says, “Car accidents are the number-one killer of teenagers in the United States, and the provision, if enacted, would slow this dangerous trend and spare thousands of families the heartbreaking loss of a teenage child.”

Shelk states, “The idea behind GDL laws is simple: minimize risk while maximizing experience. With GDL programs, teens gain driving privileges commensurate with their developing skills and good judgment.”

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Amusement Park Accidents and Liability
By FreeAdvice Staff

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s report of amusement park ride-related deaths and injuries that required emergency room treatment states that in 2002, the most recent year listed, approximately 3,000 injuries were caused by rides and approximately 2,500 injuries were caused by inflatable items like slides and bounces.

Other sources estimate that the number of injuries and deaths is much higher and may be as high as 11,000 injuries per year, and that this figure is increasing.

Most states have laws requiring amusement parks to take certain strict safety precautions. If a park doesn’t, there will be a legal presumption that the park operated negligently, making it easier to prove a claim against them.

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Falls from Windows Injure 5,100 Kids Every Year
By Reuters

Over 19 years, researchers found, the rate has dropped only slightly.

“It really is nothing to take comfort in,” said Dr. Gary Smith, who heads the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “We continue to see this problem, especially in younger kids, despite the fact that we know how to prevent it,” added Smith, who led the new work.

The way to prevent falls, he added, is to ensure that kids don’t have access to windows, for instance, by removing furniture they can climb to get there. Another good idea is to install window guards or stops, which some cities already have mandated. In New York, for instance, the Health Code requires apartment buildings to install guards on all windows in households with kids under 11 years of age.

“Parents need to remember that window screens simply won’t be enough,” said Smith.

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Pourable Gel Fuel Recall Issued After Burns, Deaths
By The Associated Press

All pourable gel fuels are being recalled from the market after dozens of reports of burn injuries have resulted from splattering gel, including at least two deaths and numerous hospitalizations.

The industry-wide pourable gel fuel recall was announced on September 1 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC decided to recall the gel fuels because the products have a tendency to ignite unexpectedly, usually when poured on firepots that consumers do not realize are still hot. The gel ignites in a flash fire and may splatter onto nearby victims.

Federal regulators say there have been 65 incidents reported, including two fatalities. Second and third degree burns that required hospitalization were suffered by at least 34 victims. Nearly half of the incidents were linked to gel fuel products made by Napa Home & Garden, whose NAPAfire and FIREGEL products were recalled in late June.

Now, nine other manufacturers have agreed to pull their gel fuels from the market. The gel fuel recall affects products sold by Bird Brain Inc., Bond Manufacturing, Sunjel Company (2 Burn Inc.), Fuel Barons Inc., Lamplight Farms Inc., Luminosities Inc., Pacific Décor Ltd., Real Flame and Smart Solar Inc.

The pourable gel fuels were sold in one-quart plastic bottles and one-gallon plastic jugs in both scented and non-scented formulas since 2008 for between $5 and $20. The recall is expected to affect about 2 million units sold nationwide.

The CPSC is urging retailers to stop selling pourable gel fuel immediately and remove it from their shelves. Consumers are urged to stop using the gels and are warned against trying to rig homemade remedies for the bottles or replacing the gel with other fuels. Some companies are attempting to design caps for pourable gel fuel bottles that would prevent flash fire risks, the CPSC noted.

Consumers with pourable gel fuels by any of the companies listed in the recall can contact those companies for a full refund. A list of links to those companies' websites is included in the CPSC recall notice.

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