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Is Your Home Safe?—20 Things to Check

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“HOME, at last!” Perhaps you breathe a sigh of relief when you return from a hectic day’s work, happy to be safe and secure at home. But are you really safe? Ironically, some people face serious dangers at home that they may be unaware of. Especially those with small children should take thoughtful precautions to minimize the number of accidents in the home. Using the following checklist, why not make an inspection of your home and note any changes that need to be made?

• Plants. If you have small children, make sure that none of your plants are poisonous. Remember, curious toddlers will put almost anything in their mouths.

• Drapes. Keep drape cords out of reach. They can entangle—and even strangle—small children.

• Drawers and cupboards. Consider installing safety latches. This will keep children from touching sharp implements and dangerous cleaning products.

• Stairway. Is it well-lit and free of clutter? Have you installed safety gates to help keep toddlers from falling?

• Stove. Keep the handles of pots and pans turned toward the back of the stove, especially while cooking.

• Broiler. Clean it frequently. A grease-filled broiler pan can cause a kitchen fire.

• Fire extinguisher. Keep at least one in the home, and make sure everyone of responsible age knows how to use it.

• Cribs. Slats should be close together. The space around the mattress should not be large enough to allow an infant’s head to get caught.

• Windows. Safety bars will protect children from falls and can easily be removed by an adult in case of a fire.

• Vitamins and medicines. Keep these in a locked cabinet or in a place that is inaccessible to children.

• Bathtub. Never leave a small child in the tub unattended. It takes little time—and little water—for a child to drown.

• Microwaves. Remember that food gets hot fast in a microwave. A baby’s formula, for example, can be scalding even though the bottle itself is just warm.

• Furnace. Have your furnace checked periodically for carbon monoxide leaks.

• Barbecue grills. Make sure children are a safe distance from the grill when it is hot.

• Garage door. Instruct children never to run under a garage door while it is moving, especially if it is electrically operated.

• Smoke detectors. Keep them clean, and check them regularly. Change the batteries each year.

• Electrical cords and outlets. Discard frayed electrical cords. It is best if unused outlets have safety covers or inserts.

• Electrical appliances. Keep appliances away from the tub or the sink. Ground fault circuit interrupters can prevent shock.

• Toy chests. Equip a toy chest with one or more air holes and with hinges that keep the lid from dropping suddenly.

• Iron. Keep your iron—including its dangling cord—out of the reach of children.

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