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Automotive Battery Safety: Jumpstarting


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From Prevent Blindness America


Schaumburg, IL - It seems impossible that a car battery could cause an explosion loud enough to be mistaken for several large firecrackers exploding - or powerful enough to blind or maim someone. But in fact, improper procedures in jump-starting a dead battery can turn the battery into a lethal bomb, causing thousands of serious eye injuries each year. All vehicle batteries contain sulfuric acid and produce hydrogen and oxygen gases. "If the gases come into contact with a spark, flame or lighted cigarette, the battery can explode, sending battery fragments and acid flying," said Daniel D. Garrett, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) spokesperson.

Every year, dead batteries cause millions of cars and trucks to fail to start. And because vehicle failures seldom happen at a convenient time or spot, motorists and workers should educate themselves on basic auto mechanics and jump-starting procedures before the battery dies. "If you don't feel comfortable jump-starting or replacing a dead battery yourself, by all means call a professional, as it is not worth taking the risk," added Garrett.

Businesses and individuals alike should have an emergency plan in place in case a vehicle battery explodes. "Most people panic if battery acid splashes into their eye," noted Garrett. "The immediate thing the injured person should do is to flush the eye with any 'drinkable' liquid on hand, such as water, milk, juice or any soft drink. Every second counts, because the longer the acid stays in the eye, the greater the chances of a serious corneal burn or blindness."

According to statistics, there were an estimated 276,000 product-related eye injuries treated in U.S, hospital emergency rooms in 2001. Thousands of these injuries were related to automotive products such as antifreeze, cleaners, and chemicals. Automotive-related eye injuries associated with batteries and chargers accounted for the highest total. There are measures of protection that people should follow when working on their vehicles, particularly under the hood. PBA encourages both professionals working in the auto repair business, as well as motorists, to wear safety glasses or goggles when jump-starting vehicle batteries.

Click here to download the pdf version of this press release.


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Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, certified vision screening training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, divisions and chapters, it's committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. To receive a free Auto Battery Safety sticker call 1-800-331-2020 or visit us on the web at


**From Prevent Blindness

Transportation Directorate, Headquarters Virginia Wing, CAP