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Thursday, April 15, 2010

There's no place like home — How safe is yours?

Your home may be your castle — but it also can be a very hazardous place. We become so accustomed to our homes that we often overlook potentially dangerous habits and situations. Here are a few simple steps that may help prevent many common household accidents:

Keep stairs clearly lit. Stairs are one of the most dangerous spots in your home. Click here for Stair Safety Tips.
Help prevent falls. Install grab bars in tubs and showers and use non-slip mats. Have bright lights over stairs and on landings. Keep them well lit and clear of boxes, furniture and other tripping hazards.
Help prevent poisoning. Keep cleaners, medications and beauty products where children can't reach them. Use child safety locks. Call (800) 222-1222 for information about poisons. If anyone ingests or inhales poison, call 911 immediately.
Help prevent fires, burns and inhalation hazards. Check all smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms regularly and hold family fire drills. If you build a new home or renovate an existing home, consider installing fire sprinklers. When cooking, stay at your stove. To help prevent scalding, set your hot water heater at 120°F.
Help prevent choking and suffocation. Any item that can fit through a toilet paper tube can choke a young child. Keep coins, latex balloons and hard round foods, such as peanuts and hard candy, where children cannot see or touch them. Pediatricians recommend placing babies to sleep on their backs without pillows, blankets, comforters or toys in cribs.* When your children are in or near water, watch them very carefully and stay close enough to touch them at all times. This includes bathtubs, toilets, pools, spas and even buckets of water.

The best way to handle an emergency is to be prepared. Make sure you have an emergency phone list posted by each phone in your house. I can give you a sample list so call me and start making your home safer today.

Stair safety
Here are tips that may help you and your family navigate your steps safely:

Install a light switch at the top and bottom of stairs.
Make sure handrails run the full length of the staircase.
Fix loose stair carpeting immediately.
Don't use throw rugs at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs.
If you intend to paint basement stairs, add some sand to the paint for a better grip or install rubber or abrasive treads.
Make sure the outside of your house is well lit or paint the edges of outside steps white so they can be seen in the dark.

*Source: U.S. Surgeon General's Office:

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