Underwriters Laboratories Offers Safe Shopping Tips

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading product safety organization, is urging families to focus on safety when purchasing gifts this holiday season. Although families may spend less this year, consumers shouldn't skimp on safety. "With so many gifts to choose from, safety is one thing that should not be compromised," said John Drengenberg, manager of Consumer Affairs for UL. "Regardless of your budget--big or small--product safety is very important and should be considered this and every holiday season."

According to UL, many consumers don't realize is that not all products that make it to store shelves meet important safety standards. Some products that are found at some deep-discount stores may pose potential safety hazards, especially if they are counterfeit or do not legitimately bear a recognized safety certification mark. Without an accredited safety certification mark there is no way to tell if the gift you are giving has been tested to strict safety requirements that help avoid foreseeable safety risks.

But finding the perfect "safe" gift does not mean consumers have to blow their budgets. Before hitting the stores, UL recommends following these simple tips to ensure you are making safety a priority in your gift giving this year:

  • Shop at retailers you know and trust: Whether you are shopping online or heading to the mall, make sure it is a place you believe to be reliable and reputable.
  • Look for a certification mark: UL encourages consumers to look for a reputable certification mark on the product and/or packaging.
  • Examine packaging: Consumers should thoroughly examine new products prior to use and pay particular attention to products in boxes or packages that do not offer the following:
    • Brand name
    • Manufacturer's name with contact information for reporting problems with the product
    • Product name and identity (i.e. a description of what the product is exactly)

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