- Whether its sunglasses, trampolines or festival tents, standards exist to ensure products are manufactured to an agreed quality level
- NSAI is urging people to look out for standards symbols when buying popular summer items to ensure that they are safe and fit for purpose
- Advice comes as NSAI publishes its Top 6 Summer Safety Tips for consumers
School may be almost out for summer but the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is urging people to do their homework on standards for popular holiday items, such as sunglasses, swimming pool inflatables and tents. These standards ensure that products are safe and fit for purpose.
“Whether people are at home or abroad this summer, standards should be at the forefront of your mind when buying typical holiday items to ensure a safe and enjoyable time,” said Geraldine Larkin, NSAI Chief Executive.
“For example, you should ensure that the sun cream you buy protects against UVA as well as UVB rays. If you’re one of the 800,000 music lovers attending a festival or concert this summer, look out for the CE mark and standards on tents and camping equipment before you purchase. In the absence of standards, these seemingly inconsequential things could have a profound impact on your health and safety and your summer,” she added.
NSAI’s Top Six Summer Safety Tips
1. Protect Your Vision
When buying sunglasses, consumers should ensure they meet the ISO 12311 and ISO 12311 standards. This symbol on the sunglasses ensures the eyewear offers protection against solar radiation or UV rays. Eyewear that does not offer protection from solar radiation or UV rays can damage your eyes.
2. Look for the UVA standard on your sunscreen
In 2012, a new ISO standard, ISO 24443, was established to help laboratories and the cosmetics industry to measure the UVA performance of sunscreen products and ensure people are better protected against the harmful rays of the sun. When first created, sunscreens were only designed to filter out UVB (Ultra Violet B) rays, as the dangers represented by UVA (Ultra Violet A) rays were then unknown. Today, sun protection products must span the entire UV spectrum. When buying sun cream, make sure you look out for the UVA symbol (see picture below). A four or five UVA star rating is best for fair skin.
3. Check arm bands and life jackets for standards
Make sure swimming arm bands meet the relevant standards and display the CE mark. The I.S. EN 13138 standard for buoyancy aids ensures that rigorous safety test methods have been put into use and that aids are safe to be worn by your child.
If you plan to spend some time out on the water, always wear a life jacket that meets the ISO 12402 series of standards. The EU has standardized the classifications for lifejackets and buoyancy aids into four classes: 50N, 100N, 150N and 275N. This helps water sports and boating enthusiasts enormously by providing a clear indication of the most suitable type of lifejacket for a particular activity.
4. Pay attention to safety signs at the beach and swimming pool
Whether you’re at home or abroad this summer, you should always take care and supervise children around large, open bodies of water. Warning signs at swimming areas fall under the following three categories, as defined by the ISO technical committee ISO/TC 145 and should follow the colour scheme recommended:
5. Check the CE Mark on trampolines and bouncing castles:
When buying a trampoline, make sure it comes with a safety net and a protective pad around the springs and that it also displays the CE marking (this ensures it meets the I.S. EN 13219 standard). Bouncing castles should meet the I.S. EN 14960 which tests and ensures that the materials, design and structural integrity is fully safe and reliable for use. Ensure that the inflatable is securely anchored with a minimum of six anchorage points.
6. Look for CE Mark and standards on camping equipment
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of music lovers getting ready to go to one or more of this year’s summer festivals, look out for the CE mark and standards on tents and camping equipment before you purchase. I.S. EN 15619 and I.S. EN 13782 are both tent safety standards that will ensure the design, structure and fabric used in your tent is reliable, secure and flame retardant to avoid a dangerous situation.
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This year, NSAI is marking 20 years in its current guise as Ireland’s national standards body. Standards touch every aspect of our lives, giving people the information they need to make informed choices when buying products. For example, mobile phones, washing machines, cars and toys are all made to specific standards that help to ensure that they are easy to use, work properly and are as safe as possible. Despite this, they can often be taken for granted.
“The products we encounter this summer, and the services we use, will all be governed by standards,” said Geraldine Larkin, “but what many people don’t realise is that standards for many items are voluntary. Therefore, I would encourage people to pay particular attention to the products they buy, look out for standards logos and symbols and don’t be afraid to ask questions,”
“Of course you can also check out the NSAI website, NSAI.ie, or call our offices for information on standards,” she added.