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How to Keep the Hottest Products of the Season Cool All Year Long
CPSC Provides Tips on Console Game and Computer Use

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Console games are flying off the shelf this season. Retailers are reporting they can't keep the latest and greatest gaming devices in stock. And as more gaming devices find their way into American homes, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing information on how to keep gaming devices from overheating.

Since the beginning of 2000, there have been 226 incidents reported to CPSC involving electronic game systems. Of those, 107 indicated some form of overheating or fire. In those cases where overheating or fire was reported, there were 15 cases of injury.

To promote safe use of gaming devices the CPSC offers the following tips:

  • Read the owners manual for information on how to install and use the gaming device.
  • Do not place the system on soft surfaces, such as a bed, sofa or carpeting that can block ventilation openings.
  • Do not place the system in confined areas, such as an entertainment unit, bookcase or rack, unless the space is well ventilated.
  • Do not install the system near heat sources, such as heat registers, radiators or heaters.
  • Do not overload electrical sockets with too many devices.
  • Do not expose the system to extreme heat or cold.
  • Keep the system on a level surface.
  • Turn the system off when not in use.
  • Unplug the system in the event of storms or severe weather.
  • Never use a game system with a damaged power supply cord.
  • Only use attachments that are specified as compatible by the manufacturer.
From January 2005 through September 2006 the CPSC is aware of at least 29 incidents involving smoke or fire, and 71 incidents of overheating associated with notebook computers.

To promote safe use of notebook computers:

  • Do not use incompatible computer batteries and chargers. If unsure about whether a replacement battery or charger is compatible, contact the product manufacturer.
  • Computer batteries can get hot during normal use. Do not use your computer on soft surfaces, such as a sofa, bed or carpet, because it can restrict airflow and cause overheating.
  • Do not permit a loose battery to come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys or jewelry.
  • Do not crush, puncture or put a high degree of pressure on the battery as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.
  • Avoid dropping or bumping the computer. Dropping it, especially on a hard surface, can potentially cause damage to the computer and battery. If you suspect damage contact the manufacturer.
  • Do not place the computer in areas that may get very hot.
  • Do not get your computer or battery wet. Even though they will dry and appear to operate normally, the circuitry could slowly corrode and pose a safety hazard.
Follow battery usage, storage and charging guidelines found in the user's guide.


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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.