Safety Tips

Safety in Your Home

Bathroom

  • To prevent poisonings, lock away all medicines and vitamins, even those with child-resistant packaging.
  • Have syrup of ipecac on hand, but use only at the recommendation of a poison control center or physician.
  • Never leave a young child alone in the bathroom, especially in a bath.
  • Before bathing a child, always test bath water with your wrist or elbow to make sure it’s not too hot.
  • To prevent scalds, set the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Farenheit and install anti-scald devices.
  • Make sure bathtubs and showers have non-slip surfaces and grab bars.
  • Keep electrical appliances, like hair dryers and curling irons, out of reach of children and away from water.

Bedroom

  • Install smoke alarms outside bedrooms and on every level of the home. For added protection, consider installing smoke alarms in each bedroom. Test them at least once a month and change batteries at least once a year.
  • Practice fire escape routes and identify an outside meeting place.
  • Place a baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib with no pillows or soft bedding underneath.
  • Use a crib that meets national safety standards and has a snug-fitting mattress.
  • Never use an electric blanket in the bed or crib of a small child or infant.
  • Keep small toys, balloons, and small balls away from young children.
  • Check age labels for appropriate toys. Make sure toy storage chests have safety lid supports.
  • To prevent strangulation, use safety tassels for miniblinds and avoid strings on children’s toys and pacifiers.
  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms outside bedrooms to prevent CO poisoning.

Kitchen

  • Keep knives, plastics bags, lighters and matches locked away from children.
  • Avoid fires and burns by never leaving cooking food unattended, turning pot handles to the back of the stove, and keeping hot liquids and foods away from the edges of tables and counters.
  • Make sure you and your children know the STOP, DROP, and ROLL procedure in case their clothes catch on fire.
  • Keep appliance cords unplugged and tied up. Replace any frayed cords and wires.
  • Securely strap young children in high chairs, swings, and other juvenile products.
  • If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker, or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.
  • All electrical appliances and tools should have a testing agency label.
  • Do not give young children hard, round foods that can get stuck in their throats like hard candies, nuts, grapes, popcorn, carrots, and raisins.
  • Avoid scald burns by keeping children away from the hot water taps on drinking water coolers.
  • Have appliances repaired if they aren’t working right.
  • Don’t overload the outlets.
  • Water and electricity combined cause shock. Have dry hands; don’t stand in water. If an appliance gets wet, have it serviced.
  • Don’t store things over the stove. People get burned reaching. Turn pot handles so children can’t pull them down. Wear tight sleeves when you cook. Loose-fitting garments can catch fire.

All Living Areas

  • To prevent asthma attacks, eliminate sources of mold, dust, and insects, such as cockroaches. If you have a pet, keep it off of furniture and its bedding clean.
  • If you smoke, avoid smoking in the house, and around children.
  • Make sure furnaces, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters, and gas appliances are vented properly and inspected annually.
  • Use safety gates to block stairways (and other danger areas), safety plugs to cover electrical outlets, and safety latches for drawers and cabinets.
  • Keep children and the furniture they climb on away from windows.
  • Install window guards (on windows that are not fire emergency exits).
  • To prevent falls, keep hallways and stairways well lit and use non-slip backing for area rugs.
  • Keep cleaning solutions, pesticides, and other potentially dangerous substances in their original, labeled containers, and out of the reach of children.
  • Test homes built before 1978 for lead paint. Ask your doctor or health department if your child should be tested for lead.
  • If you have guns or rifles in your home, store the firearms and ammunition in separate containers and lock them out of the reach of children.
  • Learn First aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
  • Keep an updated list of emergency telephone numbers, including your local poison control center, physician and hospital emergency room, next to every phone in your home.
  • Have your home tested for radon. If levels are above the EPA’s recommended level, call 1-800-557-2366 to find out about ways to reduce the levels.
  • Make sure your family knows what to do during a natural disaster. In an earthquake, drop to the floor and get under something sturdy for cover; during a tornado, take shelter in a basement or an interior room without windows; and during a hurricane stay away from window. Have handy supplies of food, flashlights, and water.
  • Use a metal fireplace screen. Have the chimney checked and cleaned regularly.
  • Put lighters and matches where small children wont find them. Use special outlet covers to keep children’s fingers out.
  • Allow air space around the TV and stereo to prevent overheating. If the TV doesn’t work right, it can be a fire danger. Have it checked out.
  • Check for outlets that have loose fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace any missing or broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
  • Make sure electrical cords are in good conditions – not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard or to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or rest any furniture on them.
  • Check to see that extension cords are not overloaded. Additionally, they should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not intended as permanent household wiring. Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.
  • Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong fit a two-conductor outlet; this could lead to an electrical shock. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN’T FIT. Plugs should fit securely into outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances.
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) can help prevent electrocution. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It then interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from electrical shock. Test GFCIs regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure they are working properly.
  • Check the wattage of all light bulbs in light fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended. If you don’t know the correct wattage, check with the manufacturer of the fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.
  • Circuit breakers and fuses should be the correct size current rating for their circuit. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.
  • Don’t place plugged in appliances where they might fall in contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water. NEVER reach in to pull it out – even if it’s turned off. First turn off the power source at the panel board and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, don’t use it until it has been checked by a qualified repairperson.
  • Check to see that your computer and entertainment equipment are in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs, and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency.
  • Space Heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture, and rugs. Don’t use them in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember to turn them off and unplug them when not in use.
  • Halogen floor lamps operate at much higher temperatures than a standard incandescent light bulb. Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies, clothing or other combustible materials. Be sure to turn the lamp off whenever you leave the room for an extended period of time and never use torchiere lamps in children’s bedrooms or playrooms.
  • During an electrical storm, do not use appliances (i.e. hairdryers, toasters, and radios) or telephones (except in an emergency); do not take a bath or shower; keep batteries on hand for flashlights and radios in case of a power outage; and use surge protectors on electronic devices and appliances.

Basements & Garages

  • Store gasoline and other flammables in tight metal containers. Don’t use flammable liquids near heat, a pilot light, or while smoking.
  • Have heating equipment checked yearly.
  • Clean up your workbench. Keep flammables away from sparks.
  • Sort and remove rubbish. Don’t store things near the furnace or heater.
  • Electric-powered mowers and other tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed power cords, broken plugs, and cracked or broken housings. If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace it.
  • Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Remember to unplug all portable power tools when not in use. Since metal ladders conduct electricity, watch out for overhead wires and power lines.

Pool & Outdoors

  • Lock all exterior windows, doors and sliding doors at all times. Keep the keys well out of reach of children.
  • Install self-closing mechanisms on doors.
  • Attach hook and eye locks – small metal locks – at the top of exterior doors. These help prevent children from going out “locked” doors. Don’t let these give you a false sense of security, however. Four- and 5-year-olds can easily drag a chair over to the door and flip open the hook and eye lock.
  • Lock doggie doors as well. Small children can easily fit in the small openings of doggie doors.
  • Lock back gates and front doors.
  • Don’t place chairs, tables and other objects near pool fences. Children can use these to climb over. Better yet, place outdoor furniture inside the locked pool fence where it will be inaccessible to children.
  • Empty wading pools when not in use. Empty standing water off pool and spa covers. A child can drown in as little as two inches of water.
  • Regularly check that the gate latches securely and that spring mechanisms work properly. Regularly oil the hinges and latches.
  • Don’t allow children to play in the pool area. Remove all toys, tricycles – anything a child might want to get – from the vicinity.
  • Post CPR instructions and the 911 emergency number in the pool area.
  • Keep lifesaving equipment, such as a pole, life preserver and rope – in the pool area. Hang them from the fence so people won’t trip on them.
  • Have a phone handy to the pool area. Do not answer the phone while your children are in the pool; use the phone only to call 911 should a problem occur.
  • NOBODY SWIMS ALONE – Always have an adult that can swim present while someone is swimming.
  • DESIGNATED GUARDIAN – During a gathering, there should be a designated guardian -that is an adult who can swim, is not drinking or socializing, and whose primary focus is pool safety.
  • KEEP SWIMMERS PER GUARDIAN DOWN – It’s dangerous to have one person in charge of many people in or around the pool.
  • NEVER ASSIGN A CHILD – Never assign a child to watch a child.
  • AVOID SPLASHING, PUSHING, JUMPING ONTO ANOTHER – Avoid splashing. This can obstruct the view to a possible drowning. Don’t ever push someone into the pool. Serious injury or death can occur when jumping on a individual.
  • NEVER DIVE IN SHALLOW WATER – Diving in shallow water can result in serious injury.
  • NO PETS – Pets can knock children into the water.
  • NEVER FAKE A DROWNING – Faking a drowning can only cause much stress and damage to a true drowning situation.
  • LADDERS AND STEPS SECURED UP – Locking systems for ladders and steps should be secured up when the pool is not in use.
  • GATES LOCKED AND LATCHED – Keep gates closed & latched.
  • LOCK THE GATE(S) – Whenever possible, keep the gates locked.
  • ELIMINATE ALL TOYS – Toys entice young children to pool area. When no one is swimming, clear the pool area of toys.
  • ELIMINATE ALL CLIMBING ITEMS – Eliminate all items that may help a child climb the fence.
  • SECURE ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS – Keep all doors and windows closed & alarms on whenever possible.
  • WATER WITHIN 3-4 INCHES FROM TOP – Keep the level of pool water within 3-4 inches (from top) to make climbing out easier.
  • LOCK UP ALL POOL CHEMICALS – Pool chemicals are extremely dangerous – keep them away from children.
  • CAREGIVERS FOLLOW POOL RULES – Every caregiver should read and follow all pool safety rules.
  • CAREGIVERS KNOW CPR – Does your caregiver know CPR?
  • ALL SAFETY DEVICES MAINTAINED AND OPERATING – Maintain all safety devices as suggested by manufacturer. Keep them on at all possible times.
  • ALL SWIMMERS MUST READ/UNDERSTAND POOL RULES.