Senators want beachgoers protected from flying umbrellas

Senators want beachgoers protected from flying umbrellas
After a toddler was nearly impaled by a beach umbrella in South Carolina, calls for improved safety have been renewed among Virginia's senators. (Source: Pixabay)

(WWBT/AP) - Senators from Virginia and New Jersey are moving to protect beachgoers from wind-tossed umbrellas.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) held a news conference Monday in Manasquan, N.J., to once again call on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to improve its regulations and develop an aggressive campaign to educate beachgoers on the dangers the umbrellas can pose if they’re not properly staked in the sand.

The Virginian-Pilot reported both Virginia senators - Mark Warner and Time Kaine, both of whom are Democrats - wrote to the agency Monday to launch an effort similar to its Fourth of July fireworks safety program and Safe Sleep Campaign regarded umbrellas on the beach.

The report said the senators inquired about safety measures such as weights that could reduce the risk of umbrellas becoming airborne. It also said a study showed that vents in the umbrellas to allow wind to pass through would be ineffective.

The Virginian-Pilot report said CPSC data shows 2,800 people went to the emergency room between 2010 and 2018 for injuries caused by beach umbrellas. CPSC statistics show that more than 31,000 people were treated at hospitals for umbrella-related injuries from 2008-2017.

The renewed call for protections comes after an airborne umbrella nearly impaled toddler last month in Myrtle Beach, S. Car.

Menendez stressed he wasn’t calling for a ban on umbrellas.

A woman was speared in the leg by a beach umbrella last summer in the Jersey Shore community of Seaside Heights.

A Chesterfield woman was killed in 2016 when she was impaled in the chest by an umbrella in Virginia Beach.

In 2015, a Richmond man was speared in the eye and suffered a brain injury caused by a beach umbrella in Dewey Beach, Dela.

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