Tis The Season To Be Safe
Considering how often we find ourselves rushing, taking shortcuts, or checking email instead of keeping an eye on the stove, it’s clear that home is not only where the heart is. It’s where accidents happen. In fact, 21 million Americans seek medical attention due to home injuries each year according to the CDC. The holidays can be especially treacherous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 12,000 of us are treated in emergency departments nationwide due to holiday-related incidents. Fortunately, turning your home into a safety zone is just a matter of making a few precautionary tweaks. Here’s our top tips for avoiding potential problems.
1. Watch your pots. And keep burner temperatures low. If you have to exit the kitchen, turn off the burner or take an oven mitt with you as a reminder to return. Never put the pan on low, then leave to pick up your kids from school or run to the store. You just might get distracted and forget about it.
2. Use gloved oven mitts (not open-face pot holders) with rubber treads so you can get a great grip on whatever you’re carrying.
3. Put a lid on it. Use a travel mug, even at home, so that if your child reaches for the mug or tips it over, there’s an added layer of protection from dangerous spills.
4. Water your tree every day. A well-watered tree can still ignite, but you’ll have more time to get out of your house should a fire start than with a tree that’s not.
5. Use upper branches. If you have small children who still put everything in their mouths, hang tree trimmings with small, removable, sharp, weighted, or breakable parts on high branches. Avoid decorations that resemble candy or food.
6. Go flameless. Battery-operated flameless candles flicker just like the real thing so you get the ambience without the risk.
7. Buy according to your child’s age. Look for the manufacturer’s recommended age range on the toy package — and take it seriously.
8. Upgrade your smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms cut your risk of dying in a home fire by half. The latest models are wireless and interconnected, so when one alarm sounds, they all go off, says Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association.
9. Don’t go beyond the boundary of the rungs of the ladder. If you feel the urge to stretch in either direction when hanging outdoor lights, get down and move the ladder over. Never climb on the last two steps from the top.
10. Throw away lights with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. And remember that holiday lights are temporary decorations, not lighting fixtures, so don’t use them for longer than 90 days. SANDRA GORDON