They are cute, cheap and fun. Air loungers have become immensely popular Christmas gifts. But when used in water, they can be deadly. Through NSW Fair Trading, the Australian government has issued a warning about the safety hazards of air loungers. This warning follows multiple reports of near-drownings emerged.
What Are Air Loungers
Air loungers are tubular fabric structures. When filled with air, they form a canoe-shaped lounge or bed. Some include an internal plastic liner in addition to the fabric cover. They are intended to replace the modern bean bag chair. Some manufacturers refer to them as air sofas. It’s relatively easy to order an air lounger online. Air loungers are available to purchase through a variety of international suppliers. Popular brands available in Australia include Lamzac, Chillo and BCF.
Some air lounger advertising includes photos that suggest the product is appropriate for use in water. This marketing has misled consumers to believe they can use them as floats in pools, rivers, and lakes. However, safety instructions seem to be non-existent.
Unfortunately, when used in this manner, the loungers can lose air quickly, and the liner material may split. Both situations can lead to a drowning hazard. Drowning is possible when users become entangled in the loose liner material and forced under water. According to consumers who have experienced the problem first-hand, the products offer no safety warnings or instructions for use.
Two Consumer Nightmares
Two recent incidents stand out as clear examples of the seriousness of air lounger hazards.
Anthea Chester from Melbourne bought a Now Lounger for her 12-year-old daughter Hollie as a Christmas present. While Hollie was using the lounger in the pool, the lining split without warning and engulfed her body. The lounger’s inflation port shot upward, forcing her under the water. As the liner fabric clung to her face and body, she became frightened and disoriented. She couldn’t see and didn’t know where the edge of the pool was. Hollie’s mother and a family friend were nearby and were able to free her quickly. Had Hollie been alone or in deeper water, the outcome could have been much worse.
Julie Kosy reports that her 76-year-old father almost drowned on Christmas Day in air lounger purchased from Now Lounger. While relaxing on the lounger in the pool, the man suddenly lost his balance. The 76-year-old man was trapped inside the liner and pushed face-down into the water. The lounger had turned inside out. It then flipped in response to his movements. Encasing him and clinging to his face and body like shrink wrap. The terrifying experience left him struggling to breathe and fighting for his life.
Fortunately, neither of these terrifying experiences ended fatally. But the risk is clear. Both Kosy and Chester posted warnings through social media. Kosy reached out to the manufacturer and requested that they warn against using the product in water. But the Now Lounger company offered little response.
What Are Australian Authorities Doing?
The disturbing reports are under review by Commonwealth, State and Territory product safety regulators. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is the Commonwealth regulator. NSW Fair Trading is currently advising consumers not to use inflatable air loungers in or near water due to safety concerns. Children should be under supervision while they are using the loungers. If unexpected deflation occurs, the covers may pose a suffocation risk even when used outside of water.
Unsafe Air Loungers – What Can Consumers Do?
If you own an air lounger, stop using it in water immediately. Remove it from pool areas to ensure that children cannot use it as a flotation device. The ACCC encourages consumers to report incidents related to the use of inflatable loungers. You can reach the NSW Fair Trading by telephone on 13 32 20 or contact the ACCC
Bean Bags R Us Offers a Safe, High-Quality Alternative
At Bean Bags R Us, the safety of our products is our top priority. Our cool outdoor furniture range includes heavy-duty pool bean bags that are suitable for use in water. Because they’re not inflatable, you don’t have to worry about losing air unexpectedly. Nor do you have to worry about becoming entangled in the cover.
Thousands of polystyrene beads keep our pool bean bags afloat. And the beads remain safe inside thanks to the heavy-duty, tear-resistant liner that is designed to last for years. A mesh underside makes draining easy. The heavy-duty size ten child-proof safety zipper ensures that little ones can’t gain access to bean bag filler. Unlike air loungers, our bean bag floats never go flat or slip from beneath you. They’re large enough for two people to share. And they’re a bold, stylish addition to your outdoor decor.
If you’re looking for gifts for teen boys, give a gift that will keep your loved ones not just safe but comfortable as well. Order one of our exclusive range of bean bag swimming pool floats today. You can check out our range of outdoor loungers here.