Knowing how to use products correctly, reading instructions and being alert to hazards will help keep you safe. You should also pay attention to product recalls in the news and consumer magazines.
The Government of Canada provides a website where consumers can search for information about food and children’s products that are unsafe or unhealthy and have been recalled. Visit www.healthycanadians.ca.
For questions or concerns regarding the safety of a particular product, including to report a potentially unsafe product, contact your Product Safety Regional Office of Health Canada.
For questions or concerns related to food safety, including to report a potential food safety incident, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Here are some tips on product safety:
- Read about major appliances, tools and other items before you buy them. There are several consumer magazines available, as well as their related websites, that give detailed information on the prices, features and safety of various products.
- Learn to use power tools and electrical appliances safely. Read instructions carefully before using any equipment.
- Don’t use things for purposes the manufacturer never intended.
- Make sure toys are age-appropriate. Your 10-year-old’s baseball bat can be a lethal weapon in the hands of your three-year-old slugger.
- It is recommended that children always wear bicycle helmets. Some provinces now require it. When shopping for helmets, look for the stickers from organizations such as Canadian Standards Association (CSA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or Snell, a non-profit organization to ensure you are buying a safe helmet. Also check to make sure that the helmet is properly fitted.
- Small parts can present choking hazards to young children who put things in their mouths. Beware of balloons, balls, marbles and older children’s toys.
- Baby items demand special attention. Cribs and baby gates have changed dramatically in recent years because of new safety requirements. The sale, advertisement and importation of baby walkers is now prohibited in Canada. Don’t buy used baby items that don’t comply with current standards.
- Be cautious about buying small appliances, power tools, baby furniture and toys at garage and tag sales, since these items may have safety defects, lead paints or other hazards. Make sure these types of items meet current safety requirements.
- Read product labels. Some products can turn into deadly poisons when mixed with other products, stored improperly or used in poorly ventilated areas.
- Keep all medicines, cleaning products, wood finishes, toxic art supplies and paint out of the sight and reach of young children. Keep leftover products in their original containers. Post the poison control emergency number near your phone (it is listed near the front of your phone book). Properly dispose of old and outdated products.
- Look for tamper-resistant packaging on food and medicine.
- Watch out for lead crystal decanters and dinnerware decorated with lead paint or glaze. When there’s no way to ensure items are lead-free, don’t buy them.
Environmentally Responsible Consumer Tip:
Do not put out-of-date or unused medication in the garbage or down the toilet or sink, since the chemical components may end up in the water supply or soil.
Check to see whether your pharmacy has a drug recycling program that disposes of unused or expired drugs in an environmentally safe manner. Most pharmacies do, and programs exist in British Columbia, Alberta and many parts of other provinces and territories to incinerate unused drugs. If your area does not have such a program, check whether your municipality incinerates drugs.