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Educational Consumer Tips

Computers-Tips for the Safe Use of Portable Computers

Author: Better Business Bureau

Tips for the Safe Use of Portable Computers If you are the proud owner of a new laptop computer, you're no doubt enjoying its portability and convenience. Your laptop will continue to serve you well if you heed the safety issues that are unique to portable computers. The Better Business Bureau joins with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to offer safety tips for laptop and notebook computer users: - Follow the directions. Carefully read your owner's guide for directions related to the safe use of your computer and the storage and charging of its battery. - Shut it down! It is best to shut down laptops when not in use, to prevent overheating. Also, remember to unplug any accessories when the computer will not be in use. - Handle your computer gently. Avoid dropping or bumping it. If your portable computer falls onto a hard surface, it could damage the battery or other parts. Contact the manufacturer immediately if you suspect a problem. - Batteries require special care. Crushing or puncturing the battery may cause an internal short circuit, resulting in overheating. Do not permit a loose battery to come in contact with metal objects (coins, keys or jewelry). Always buy replacement batteries from your computer vendor to avoid purchasing a counterfeit or unsafe battery. - Use compatible chargers. If you are unsure whether a replacement battery or charger is compatible, check with the manufacturer. - Ventilation is important. Computer batteries can get hot during normal use so it's wise to inspect and clean the air vents on a regular basis. Always operate a portable computer on a hard surface. If you want to place your laptop on a soft surface, use a good laptop desk with vents large enough to allow proper air circulation. - Packing it up. Make sure the computer is shut down before placing it in a well padded, shock absorbent case. Also, avoid storing your laptop in a hot car or in front of a heater vent or other high temperature area. - Avoid water exposure. Avoid getting your computer or battery wet. While they may dry and appear to operate normally, the circuitry could slowly corrode and pose a safety hazard. - Don't ignore recall notices. If your computer maker issues a battery recall, heed the manufacturer's advice. Taking these common sense precautions will help protect you and your portable computer! For more information please contact the BBB at 1-800-273-1002 or 414-847-6000.