Kids’ personal alarms break easily, consumer center says

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A crime prevention device distributed by Tokyo’s Hachioji municipal government

Many personal alarms distributed by municipalities or other bodies to local children as a crime prevention device have malfunctioned, suggesting their reliability is questionable, according to the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan.

The center said Thursday it had received in July a report from Tokyo’s Hachioji Municipal Board of Education stating that the city government had distributed 5,000 mobile alarms to first graders at municipal primary schools in April, but 1,000 of them had broken by July.

The product in question was a type recommended by the Japan Crime Prevention Association (JCPA).

Following the report, the center conducted durability tests on eight mobile alarm products, recommended for their good quality by the JCPA. The center dropped the devices onto a concrete floor from a height of one meter. The products ranged in price from 600 yen to 800 yen.

Five of the eight products failed to function correctly after they had been dropped on the ground only once.

Commenting on the result, a JCPA official told The Yomiuri Shimbun: “We recommended products that had passed durability tests [conducted by makers], in which they are dropped onto a surface from a height of one meter. We’ll ask the makers to conduct more thorough testing and to improve the functioning of the products.”

Meanwhile, the center conducted a questionnaire on mobile alarm malfunctioning in which it surveyed 99 cities across the nation, including government ordinance-designated cities and regional hub cities. Of the 81 responding municipalities, 58 cities, or about 70 percent of respondents, said mobile alarms had been distributed or rented to children by the relevant municipal government, parent-teacher associations or local companies.

The survey found that 31 cities were themselves in charge of services for distributing or renting out such products, and that 25 cities had received various complaints about the devices, including claims that the alarms were no longer emitting a sound.

“It’s absurd to have a crime prevention alarm that doesn’t work when it’s really needed,” an official at the center said. “Schools and parents should regularly check whether the devices are functioning normally.”

(Oct. 11, 2008) Daily yomiuri

3 thoughts on “Kids’ personal alarms break easily, consumer center says”

    1. I agree. It’s scandalous. Our children’s safety is at stake. What’s more those tests for durability ought not to be undertaken by the “makers” but by independent agencies like consumer centers or citizen’s groups, and then rankings made public. I think it would make a good TV talk show subject as well.

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