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THE SAFETY ZONE

Today's Tip

Help Kids Avoid Ouch Factor on Hot Metal Slides

September 04, 2000

Don't let that trip to the park turn into a burning, painful experience for kids. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents to check for hot surfaces on metal playground equipment before allowing young children to play on it.

* Solid steel decks, slides or steps in direct sunlight may reach temperatures high enough to cause serious contact burn injuries in a matter of seconds.

* Federal regulators know of incidents in which children suffered second- and third-degree burns to their hands, legs and buttocks when they sat on metal stairs, decks or slides.

* Young children are most at risk because, unlike older children who react quickly by pulling away their hands or by getting off a hot surface, very young children may remain in place when they contact a hot surface.

Vacation, Travel Rip-Offs Are a Perennial Problem

The vacation season may be winding down, but the California Department of Consumer Affairs continues to warn the public about travel scams. Travel rip-offs are among the top 10 scams. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service identifies bogus vacation offers as one of the top five.

* Typical scams start with a postcard, certificate or phone call announcing that you've been selected to receive a vacation . . . just as soon as you've paid a one-time membership fee or handling charge. Or a company offers you a great deal but won't tell you all the details until you have paid.

* When purchasing travel, make sure that the company you're dealing with is registered with the California attorney general's office. California law requires California-based companies that sell air or sea travel to register annually and participate in a consumer restitution fund. Customers who make purchases from unregistered sellers of travel are not protected by this fund.

* Also, never give out your credit-card number or bank-account number over the phone to a solicitor unless you have initiated the call and have confidence in the company with which you're dealing. This is one of the most important rules for consumers to follow, not only when purchasing travel, but in all telephone transactions.

* Consumers can receive a copy of the state's "Consumer Advisory: Ten Tips to Avoid Travel Scams" by calling (916) 323-7239 or by accessing http://www.dca.ca.gov.

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Sources: Consumer Products Safety Commission. California Department of Consumer Affairs

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