Va. lawmakers call for beach umbrella safety regulations following deaths and injuries

Virginia lawmakers want more done to warn beachgoers about the dangers of beach umbrellas being propelled by gusts of wind when they aren’t properly staked in sand.

Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have written a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission citing a need for a safety campaign to educate beachgoers about the possibilities of serious injury or even death.

In 2016, a woman was killed after being hit by an umbrella while vacationing in Virginia Beach, just one of several high-profile incidents.

Statistics from the CPSC show that more than 31,000 people have been treated for umbrella-related injuries between 2008 and 2017.

The senators also pointed out the CPSC’s previous findings that implementing safety standards wouldn’t stop injuries from occurring, but the letter stresses the urgency of a solution and asks whether a weighted system would help keep umbrellas in place, saying it is “imperative that the CPSC ensure that a day at the beach isn’t turned into a day at the emergency room.”

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is also stepping in, calling for tighter regulations along with more education.

The Virginia senators have asked for a response on the issue from the CPSC by Aug. 30.

Additionally, the lawmakers mentioned other notable CPSC public education campaigns that have proven successful in changing people’s behavior including the 2010 “Safe Sleep Campaign” to educate parents and caregivers about how best to make nurseries safe; the 2015 “Anchor It!” campaign to warn of the dangers of furniture tip-overs; the annual July 4th fireworks safety campaign; and a 2017 alert to the public of fidget spinner choking hazards.

The letter can be read in its entirety online.

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