Safe at Home. Preventing Household Dangers: A Room-by-Room Guide. Based on the home safety guide published by the Home Safety Council . http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/mysafehome/msh_GH_p001.pdf. KITCHEN SAFETY. Cooking is the number one cause of home fires.
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Preventing Household Dangers:
A Room-by-Room Guide
Home Safety Council
Cooking is the number one cause of home fires.
In addition, kitchens usually contain a stock of dangerous household chemicals, often within the reach of children.
Lower the odds of home fires by taking these preventive measures:
• Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Turn them off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
• Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Blow out the candle if you leave the room or go to sleep. Or, choose battery-operated “flameless candles.”
• Keep all lighters and matches locked away and out of the reach
• If you smoke, do so outside. Empty ashtrays into the trash often, dousing them with water first.
Install smoke alarms
Smoke alarms are your family’s early warning system—cutting the risk of fire-related fatalities almost in half:
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside every bedroom. Buy both ionization- and photoelectric-type alarms for the best detection of flaming and smoldering fires, respectively.
• Test alarms monthly to make sure they are working properly, and install fresh batteries at least once a year. Choose a brand you can trust.
• If your alarms are ten years old or more, replace them.
• Sleeping children may not wake up to the sound of a smoke alarm. Expose them to it so they will know and respond to it, but assign an adult to help children escape in a fire
Plan an escape
Develop a fire escape plan for your family:
• Make a map of your home and identify two exits from every room.
• Choose a safe spot just outside the home (e.g., a tree in front of your house) where the family will meet after escaping.
• Hold a family fire drill at least twice each year, including one at night.
Stay in reach
For young children, even a few inches of water in a bathtub can pose a drowning hazard. Don’t let kids out of your sight:
• Always stay within arm’s reach when children are bathing. Never allow older children to supervise younger kids.
• Always help young children use the sink or tub.
• If you have toddlers, use toilet seat locks and doorknob covers. Always keep bathroom doors closed.
Keep a grip
Everyone, especially older adults, needs sturdy support on the ground and within arm’s reach to prevent falls in the bathroom:
• Install secure grab bars in bathtubs and showers, and near toilets. New models are attractive and easy to install.
• Use a non-slip mat or adhesive safety strips inside the bath
• Use bathmats to catch drips, and always wipe up spills immediately.
Follow these steps to avoid choking or suffocation hazards:
• Place infants to bed on their backs on a firm mattress. Don’t put pillows, comforters, or toys in cribs.
• Look carefully at toys and dispose of those with small or broken parts that could become lodged in an infant’s throat.
• Coins, latex balloons, nuts, hard candies…if it fits through a toilet paper tube, it can cause young children to choke. Keep these items out of reach.
• Check www.cpsc.gov for recalls of toys and other consumer
Today, many people work out of their homes. You can make your workspace safer for your family with just a few simple steps:
• If you have small children at home, use a doorknob cover to keep them from entering the office alone. Install safety covers on unused electrical outlets.
• Shredders, paper cutters, desktop equipment, and other hazards should be placed well out of children’s reach.
• Make sure taller bookcases are bolted to the wall so they cannot tip. Keep power strips and electrical cords out of walkways and be sure not to overload them.
Window falls among children are common, especially in the spring and summer:
• Install specially designed window guards on upper windows to prevent children from falling out. Make sure they have a quick-release mechanism to allow them to open from the inside in case of a fire.
• Move furniture away from windows.
• Never leave children unattended near open windows.
• Window-blind cords can present a serious strangulation hazard. Clip the loops in window cords and place them up high where children can’t reach, or upgrade to cordless blinds.
Falls are by far the leading cause of home injury, accounting for 5.1 million home injuries and nearly 6,000 deaths a year—the vast majority occurring among adults age 65 and older.
Less than 1 in 5 U.S. adults say that falls are their top home safety concern.
Consider these stair safety tips to protect everyone in your household:
• In homes with young children, use sturdy safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways.
• All stairways and steps, no matter how short, should have handrails on both sides.
• Install bright lights with on/off switches at the top and bottom
of each stairwell and over porches and entryways.
• Keep stairways and steps clear of all objects. Never use the stairs for temporary storage or for displaying decorative items.
Safely store the dangerous stuff
Hazardous substances sit side-by-side in your garage and they don’t mix well with others:
• Store dangerous chemicals—including automotive fluids, pesticides, charcoal lighter, paint thinner, pool chemicals, antifreeze, and turpentine—in containers with child-resistant caps, in locked cabinets.
• Wear gloves and a mask when handling these chemicals, and do not mix together. Keep these products in their original containers.
• Gasoline is highly flammable and should be stored in small quantities in a tightly sealed, approved safety container and away from appliances with a pilot light, such as a hot water heater. Keep it in a separate, locked shed if possible.
Protect in the pool
Keep a constant eye on your kids in and around the pool:
• Install isolation fencing that encloses all four sides of the pool, is at least five feet high, and has a self-closing, self-locking gate. The fence should separate the house from the pool. Always keep the gate closed and locked.
• Assign at least one adult “water watcher” whenever kids are in or near the pool—or around any container or body of water, including ponds, bathtubs, toilets, and buckets. That person’s sole responsibility should be to watch the children closely.
• No child or adult should be allowed to swim alone without another adult present.
Secure the playground
Before your kids slide down a slide or climb aboard a
swing, follow these tips:
• Test to see whether playsets are safe and sturdy, and make sure they do not have loose connections.
• Cover areas under and around play equipment with soft materials such as hardwood chips, mulch, or pea gravel. Materials should be 9 to 12 inches deep and extend six feet from all sides of play equipment.
• Use play equipment and accessories appropriate for your children’s age. Children under age five should not play on anything above five feet high.
Safeguard your lawn & garden
Before mowing the lawn or throwing steaks on the grill, understand that the equipment itself needs to be handled with care:
• Before mowing, check your lawn for any objects that could shoot
from under the blade, and check that all guards are in place.
• When mowing, keep children inside the house or well away
from the area. Use safety goggles and hearing protection.
• Use only starter fluid made for barbecue grills when starting a
fire in a charcoal grill. Always follow directions on the label. Never use
a match to check for fuel leaks.
• Never leave barbecue grills unattended while in use. Keep
grills at least three feet away from other objects, including the
house and shrubs or bushes.
• Before discarding any ashes, make sure they have completely
cooled. Add water and stir to put out buried embers. Transfer to a metal can with a top.
We love our pets like family, so plan for their safety as you would for any loved one. Remember that their well-being depends solely on your smart decision-making.
• Keep chemicals such as antifreeze away from pets.
• Include pet food and supplies in your disaster preparedness kit.
• A home fire sprinkler system protects pets, too: If a fire breaks out when you’re away, sprinklers can control the fire, often fully extinguishing it.
• Keep people safe from your pets: According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children.