How Safe is Your Home?
By Diane Tait
|Image courtesy needpix|
Now that summer break is here, there comes the pitter patter of little feet around the house. Since kids spend a lot of time indoors or close to home when the temperature is in the 90’s, we parents need to take the time to make sure that our home and yard are safe havens. On the average, more than 12,000 deaths to young people aged 0-18 years happen every year in the US from injuries. Plus, there are many more times that number when injuries occur to kids that are serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. While all these incidents are tragic, what’s even more tragic is that many of them were preventable. To help you keep you keep your kids out of harm’s way, I’d like to devote this week’s blog to household safety tips.
Look Out Below
One of the most common ways for children to seriously injure themselves is by falling down. Whether we’re talking about tripping over a toy to do a face plant, or climbing a tree to take a tumble, if there’s a way for kids to hurt themselves while playing, they’ll find it. The secret to keeping kids from falling is to make sure you do everything on your part to safeguard the places kids congregate. Here are a few tips:
1. Make sure kids put their toys away. Not only does this keep them safe, it keeps you safe as well. I went for a walk a few nights ago and nearly took a tumble over a neighbor kid’s whiffle ball bat that I didn’t see on the sidewalk.
2. Keep the trees trimmed. A low branch has a magnetic attraction for kids to start climbing. If they can’t reach the lowest limb, you’re good to go.
3. Make sure staircases are well lit. Nothing can cause a fracture faster than taking a tumble down the stairs.
4. Do your bathrooms have bathmats and throw rugs? A wet bathroom tub and floor are nearly as slippery as a banana peel.
Do You Own a Dog?
|Image courtesy Pixabay|
“My dog never bites,” is what many an ER doctor has heard all too often. Regardless of whether your family dog is a chihuahua or a Great Dane, all dogs can and do bite. Especially if a child either teases it or accidentally steps on its tail, your dog is likely to snap. Therefore, make sure your kids are trained on the dos and don’ts of dog handling, or make sure that both your kids and your dogs are kept away from each other unless they are under adult supervision.
Highway to the Danger Zone
Particularly if you have small children, consider installing child gates at the top and bottom of staircases. It only takes a moment for you to turn your back on tykes for them to get into mischief. This also includes climbing on furniture only to fall flat on their faces, climbing onto the windowsill to fall out an open window and opening an unlocked door to wander outside where they can be hit by a passing car or fall into a water fountain or swimming pool. Last but not least, keep tots out of the kitchen. Between hot pots on the stove and sharp implements galore, there are too many ways for rug rats to injure themselves in the kitchen to enumerate.
The Terror of Toxins
While all parents know you need to keep tots from gaining access to toxic cleaning chemicals stored under sinks and in the garage, there are a few other precautions you need to take to keep kids from accidentally poisoning themselves:
1. Make sure medicine cabinets are locked. Aside from pharmaceuticals and cleaning solvents, even personal care products like hand sanitizer, cosmetics and contact lens solution can prove poisonous.
2. Garden sheds also need to be locked, since they contain gasoline, fertilizer and insecticide.
3. Speaking of the garden, did you know that some plants are toxic if ingested? These includes castor beans, lilies, angel trumpets, elephant ears and many more. For a complete list, check out this link from Wikipedia.
4. Batteries are toxic if swallowed.
The Fire Drill
|Image courtesy DoDLive|
Fire is another household peril that most folks take for granted to their chagrin. Not only does fire pose a danger, an even bigger threat comes from the thick, noxious smoke that even a small house fire can produce. If you want to keep your family safe from this threat, here are a few suggestions:
1. Make sure all your smoke alarms are all in working order.
2. Inspect all the wires and outlets in your home to make sure that they function properly. If you have a pet dog or cat, sometimes they like to chew on electrical cords. All it takes is one spark from a frayed cord to start a fire.
3. Don’t overload outlets or surge suppressors.
4. Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher in the house and teach everyone over the age of ten how to use it.
5. Show your kids what to do should they smell smoke or hear the smoke alarm go off. One of the biggest hazards can occur if a child runs into a room or hallway filled with smoke only to be quickly become disoriented and overcome by fumes.
6. If your home has any kind of space heater or radiant heater, you need to make sure your kids keep clear.
7. Keep matches and candles under lock and key, since kids sometimes like to play with fire.
Summer should be a time of joy to you and your family. Make sure you clear out all the hazards that could harm your kids so they can play safely in and out of your home.
Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance. To find out more about how you can save money on home owner’s insurance, go to her site or fill out the form at right.