Consumer Reports’ test results prompt swift bike helmet recall
In response to Consumer Reports’ recent test results of bike helmets, the CPSC in conjunction with Trek today announced a voluntary recall of the two Trek bike helmets that failed to pass government standards.
“We are pleased that in response to our latest tests of bike helmets the CPSC and Trek have taken such prompt and responsible action to remove an unsafe product from store shelves,” said Don Mays, senior director for product safety at Consumer Reports.
May 4, 2006
In Time for Summer, Magazine Suggests Safe Alternative Models of Pool Alarms and Bike Helmets
YONKERS, NY – Consumer Reports’ most recent tests of pool alarms and bike helmets have found safety issues with some popular models. The reports are published in the June issue of the magazine and are available for free at ConsumerReports.org as a public service to consumers.
Consumer Reports tested seven pool alarms and rated three “Not Acceptable” because they failed to alarm within 20 seconds of motion in the water. The three “Not Acceptable” pool alarms are: Pool S.O.S. PA-100, PoolEye PE21, and Pool Patrol PA-30. In addition the PoolEye PE 13 is “Not Recommended” due to frequent false alarms. The “Not Acceptable” and “Not Recommended” pool alarm models do not meet the ASTM International standard for pool alarm performance, currently a voluntary standard.
Results of Consumer Reports tests of 28 adult bike helmets uncovered that two of the four Trek helmets tested, the Trek Anthem C Elite and Anthem C Elite WSD, failed to meet the federal government’s standard for impact absorption and have been rated “Not Acceptable.” Consumer Reports confirmed its test results of these helmets with follow-up tests at an outside lab.
Close to half the samples of another adult bike helmet, the Pro-tec Classic, failed to meet the standard for chin strap strength. That model has been rated “Not Recommended.” A helmet with a problem chin strap would likely protect a cyclist during the initial impact but may not if there were a second impact.
Consumer Reports has asked that the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which oversees product safety for more than 15,000 products including pool alarms and bike helmets, issue a recall of the two “Not Acceptable” bike helmets and to investigate the “Not Recommended” model. Additionally, Consumer Reports has asked the CPSC to make the ASTM International voluntary standard on pool alarms a mandatory requirement.
“These test results are particularly troubling because both pool alarms and bike helmets are products that safety-conscious consumers will look for as we start the summer season,” said Don Mays, senior director for product safety at Consumer Reports. “It is our hope that the CPSC will take a more active role in policing the marketplace with check-tests, swift corrective action, and mandatory standards so that consumers will find safe products on retailers’ shelves.”
Consumer Reports notes that, on average, more than 300 children under the age of 15 drown in swimming pools every year and that pool alarms are designed to raise an alert if people enter the water when they’re not supposed to. For a pool alarm to meet the ASTM International voluntary standards, an 85-plus-decibel alarm must sound poolside and in the house within 20 seconds when an 18-pound, toddler-sized mannequin falls into the pool, and there must be no false alarms in a 15-mph wind or when a basketball plops into the pool.
Consumer Reports notes that the Poolguard PGRM-AG for above-ground pools ($140) and the Poolguard PGRM-2 for in-ground pools ($225) are both good choices that meet the voluntary ASTM International standard.
Consumer Reports notes that a well-designed and properly fitting bike helmet can prevent up to 88 percent of bike-related brain injuries.
Consumer Reports confirmed its test results for impact absorption with follow-up tests at an outside lab. Consumer Reports tests were performed at the standard set forth by the CPSC, which defines testing methodology and product standards for impact absorption and chin strap strength on bike helmets.
Consumer Reports recommends the following helmets, which were among those that passed its impact absorption and chin strap strength tests: for adults, the Bell Citi ($45) and Bell Slant ($50) – both CR Best Buys; for youth, the Bell Trigger ($30) and the Schwinn Intercept ($17) – a CR Best Buy; and for toddlers, the Bell Boomerang ($30).
Consumer Reports also recommends that, if possible, consumers try the helmet on at the store for fit and comfort, or make sure it can be returned.
The report on bike helmets and pool alarms, including recommended models will be available for free on www.ConsumerReports.org.
Lauren Hackett (914) 378-2561
Douglas Love (914) 378-2437
© Consumers Union 2006. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this mission, we test, inform, and protect. To maintain our independence and impartiality, Consumers Union accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. Consumers Union supports itself through the sale of our information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.