Years ago, I used to teach first aid, CPR and home safety. These tips are still just as sound today as they were 25 years ago. Being safe does not mean you have to spend a ton of money.
- If your car has an alarm, keep your keys beside your bed. If you have an intruder during the night, hit the button. The alarm will scare him off. This can also work if you have a medical emergency. After your alarm goes off for a length of time, you have a pretty good chance of a neighbor either coming over or calling to check on you (or to tell you to turn the thing off!). I tried mine, and I can activate my car from all rooms of the house except those in the basement.
- Keep your cell phone plugged into the charger at night, beside your bed. If someone cuts your phone line during the night in an attempt to silence an alarm and break in, you can still call 911.
- Parents/adults should sleep with one of the homes fire extinguishers in their bedroom, located between the bed and the bedroom door. If a fire breaks out at night, you have a way to get out of your room and help your family. Make sure your fire extinguisher is properly charged, and is properly rated for its location in the home (the fire department can give you information and recommendations regarding extinguishers)
- Have working smoke detectors and keep the batteries current. A good rule is to change the batteries when the time changes (twice a year). Most fire departments will help you install them or change the batteries. (You provide the device and the battery). I let them install mine as I knew the FD knew better the best locations for them (and had a better ladder!!). In some towns, they will also provide the smoke alarms for elderly persons, people who are on food stamps or for renters.
- Every parent/caregiver should take First Aid/CPR. It can also save time to know by name drug allergies that your family may have.
- Keep the following in your first aid supplies. These are often overlooked and can save a life: aspirin and ipecac syrup. Study their uses and administer them (if the situation calls for it) as someone else calls 911 or AFTER you have called 911. Call for your help first, so they are on their way. Check your first aid box at least quarterly for expired items and to restock it.
- Make sure your family knows escape routes for a fire, hiding places for a tornado, and where to meet during a major emergency.
- When out, don't let little ones wear shirts with their names on it. A stranger can lure the child away more easily by calling them by their name.
- When in a crowd, moms find it useful to dress the family alike. Ours family still does it - when we go to the amusement park, or the racetrack, we all wear red t-shirts. When mine were real little, I even went as far as to write my cell number on their stomach in ink - just in case they got lost. I learned this tip from a co-worker whose daughter was lost at the zoo. The security officer who found her told her to do that on their next trip.
- Use common sense. It doesn't hurt to keep poisons and cleaners up out of reach even if you don't have little ones in your home. This also includes those found in the garage as well as those under the kitchen sink. For some reason, pets love to try to drink antifreeze.
- Outlet covers can also be of use to stop curious little fingers AND they can also act as a form of insulation outlets on outside walls as well.
- Teach little ones how to dial 911.
- Keep medicines in a safe place (top of the refrigerator is good) and out of the bathroom. The bathroom should NEVER be used to store medications for 2 reasons: first, little ones are in there alone, with the door shut---and two, heat and moisture are bad on medications. Ours are in a Rubbermaid type container in the kitchen on top of the refrigerator where little ones can't get to it. Throw away expired medications. Some can turn toxic as they age.
- Irons should never be kept on the ironing board when not in use. Even if they are cold, a little one or a pet can knock it off and onto their head.
- Don't let a car sit and run for a long period of time in a garage.
- Check windows in the bedrooms of younger children to make sure children can not climb out of them. When my girls were little, I had to screw a small block of wood above the top of the bottom sash so that the window could not be opened more than 8 inches. I did this after I found a two year old preparing to climb out the window-which was on the second floor.
- If in doubt as to the safety of your home for your pets or small children, get down and crawl! Become the height of a 2 year old and see what you can find to put into your mouth, pull on, tip over, climb on.
- Don't keep tools and ladders out and unlocked. This only serves as an invitation to a burglar to use these items to break into your home. Same with guns-you are best to keep them in a gun safe. If you don't have a gun safe, then keep them hidden where an intruder won't find them to use against you.
- Watch your storage of flammables. This includes lighter fluid, newspapers, paper plates and even all that TP you bought on sale. Make sure you are not keeping it in an area next to something with a pilot light or that puts out heat. Coats and linens should never be stored in the hot water heater or furnace closet.
- If you burn your trash, make sure you are doing it safely. Some items explode when burned; including light bulbs, batteries and aerosol cans to name a few. Others put out toxic smoke and smells such as paint cans and plastics. Recycle what you can.
- Have a professional inspect your gas burning appliances on a regular basis. Change filters as recommended. Have necessary carbon monoxide detectors in your home if you burn gas, wood (or any fossil fuel) or have a garage with indoor parking.
There are many more tips to keep your home safe. These should get you started. Look around your home and see what applies to where you live and your lifestyle.
By April from NW Missouri
Home Safety Tips
Another thing to keep in #6: Benedril (sp?) type medicine, in case someone becomes allergic to something unknowingly. (03/13/2008)
Home Safety Tips
#10 reminds of of an event that happened about 55 years ago. My mother kept the dry cleaning fluid under the kitchen sink. My baby brother was just beginning to crawl. Somehow he managed to get the lid off and drink some. Dad had the only car, and he was in another state. Mom called a taxi and explained the situation. That driver was there in no time, and broke all records getting us to the hospital. My brother was turning bluer all the time. Mom fumbled with her purse to pay the taxi driver, and he just said, "Get that baby inside!" He wouldn't take money. Billy got his stomach pumped and spent the night in the hospital. His breath smelled like acetone for about a week. He didn't talk until he was 2 1/2 years old, but when he did, he started out with "Grr, Daddy. I'm a bear." Dad cried from happiness. He'd been so sure that the cleaning fluid had damaged Billy mentally. (03/15/2008)