Stay safe this summer season

13 December 2018

We are reminding Kiwis to stay safe through the summer when firing up the BBQ, taking a dip in the pool or hitting the beach.

Lizzie Wilson, spokesperson for our Safer Homes programme says: “The sun, pool and spa chemicals, and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) all pose risks, especially to children: this can include toddlers near open flames, or gaining access to chemicals which are not locked up and out of sight.

“Mixing spa and pool chemicals can also create a poisonous gas or even explode, and it’s also best not to touch spa and pool chemicals as you can get skin reactions or burns,” says Ms Wilson.

“We recommend Kiwi’s read the labels on household chemicals to understand what they are, how they should be used, and what the risks are to your family by storing them at home.

“This advice also extends to sunscreen, the best protection from the sun, which are not all created equally,” says Ms Wilson. “We encourage you to visit the Consumer New Zealand website which has good advice to help you find a suitable sunscreen.”

For more tips visit our website or our Safer Homes Facebook page.

Buying sunscreens

  • Buy suncreens from brands and retailers that you know and trust.
  • If you are in any doubt about the safety of a product – don’t buy or use it.
  • If the label isn’t in English, doesn’t list the ingredients, batch code and NZ importer and manufacturer contact details, the product isn’t compliant with the rules.
  • Read the label and follow the instructions and store out of reach of small children. Even if the product says it’s non-toxic and natural it could be dangerous if swallowed.
  • If you have an allergic or other reaction to a sunscreen product, stop using it immediately. If the reaction is severe, get medical advice from a doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Stay safe around LPG

  • LPG ignites and burns easily.
  • If it leaks, it can ignite and sometimes explode.
  • It is stored under pressure in canisters and cylinders.
  • LPG appliances can give off carbon monoxide if they are not burning properly, so make sure your appliance is working properly and is serviced regularly.
  • ‘Huffing’ or breathing LPG in intentionally can make you sick or even kill you.
  • See more tips and our factsheet on the EPA website: https://www.epa.govt.nz/everyday-environment/using-lpg-gas-at-home

Tips for chemical use in your spa or swimming pool

  • You should follow the directions on the label to make sure you use your spa chemicals safely.
  • Wear safety gear and long clothing when using your chemicals.
  • Add your chemicals directly to your spa or pool (unless the directions say otherwise). It can be dangerous to mix your chemicals with small amounts of water, such as mixing them in a cup or bucket. They may explode.
  • Clean up any spills quickly, following the directions on the label.
  • Never mix different spa chemicals together. This can make them release poisonous gas, or even explode.
  • Wash your hands well when you are done.

Storing chemicals safely

  • Store chemicals in their original containers.
  • Make sure they are kept well away from heat, fires and electricity.  
  • Store your chemicals in a locked cupboard, where children and pets can’t get to them.  
  • Keep them away from other chemicals that can burn easily, like petrol or LPG.  
  • Make sure you store all liquids upright, not on their sides. This will help stop big spills.  
  • Check you have shut all the containers tightly.