Sens. Kaine, Warner raise beach umbrella safety concerns

Posted at 4:34 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 17:12:09-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The hotter the sun gets, the more people you'll see relaxing on the beach under an umbrella.

“Normally if it’s super hot or sunny, it's good to have shade and some protection," said Virginia Beach resident Jordan Lee.

Photo credit:

But that beach umbrella can also be dangerous. In 2016, Chester woman Lottie Belk was struck and killed by an umbrella that was picked up by the wind in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine say they do not want any more beach umbrella accidents.

In a letter to the chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the senators asked about the organization's safety standards in place to prevent beach umbrella injuries and if the commission can "provide a detailed breakdown of data on umbrella injuries; specifically beach umbrellas”.

News 3 reached out to the commission for more information, and they say about 3,000 people are treated annually in the emergency room for umbrella injuries, including beach umbrellas.

Beach staff say to avoid flying umbrellas, pay attention to the weather.

Hunter Thomas is a beach rental associate at Surf and Adventure in Sandbridge. “We just want to make sure they are putting the umbrella in properly so they aren’t putting other people at risks of themselves," he said.

“If it gets too windy, it might not be the best idea to put up an umbrella."

To view the full letter that Kaine and Warner sent to the CPSC, click here.