Consumer roundup: Tax-free supplies, weighted baby blankets, speaker recall

Texans can stock up on batteries, flashlights, other emergency supplies April 27-29

It’s prime time to stock up on batteries or invest in a portable generator as Texans pay no sales tax this weekend on qualified emergency preparedness items.

Saturday through Monday, April 27-29, sales tax is waived on a long list of items to help people prepare for weather spring storms and emergencies.

The 2024 Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday applies to items purchased in stores, online or by phone.

There is no limit on the number of items purchased, but there are price limits for individual items.

For example, only generators that cost less than $3,000 and ice chests priced less than $75 are eligible for the tax-freebie.

These emergency preparation supplies qualify for tax exemption:

Less than $3,000:

  • Portable generators

Less than $300:

  • Emergency ladders
  • Hurricane shutters

Less than $75:

  • Axes.
  • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt).
  • Can openers - nonelectric.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Coolers and ice chests for food storage – nonelectric.
  • Fire extinguishers.
  • First aid kits.
  • Fuel containers.
  • Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits.
  • Hatchets.
  • Ice products - reusable and artificial.
  • Light sources - portable self-powered (including battery operated). Examples of items include candles, flashlights and lanterns.
  • Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers.
  • Radios - portable self-powered (including battery operated) - includes two-way and weather band radios.
  • Smoke detectors.
  • Tarps and other plastic sheeting

Weighted baby blanket warning

Amazon and Target say they will no longer sell weighted blankets and sleep sacks for babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has said they are not safe. Doctors say the weight can limit a baby’s ability to move the muscles required for breathing.

According to to Consumer Product Safety Commission, one infant death has been linked to a weighted baby product.

Speaker recall

More than a quarter of a million Yoto mini speakers for children are recalled. The lithium-ion battery can overheat or catch fire, according to federal regulators. The company has a half dozen reports of the speaker melting.

Owners can contact Yoto to receive a free smart charging cable.

About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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