Posts made in December 2018

Poison Prevention

Poison prevention involves many different things. There are many items in just about every home that could be poisonous if used improperly. Medication was taken: at the wrong dosage, by the wrong person, or combined with other medicines; can all be considered poisonous. Household cleaners and chemicals may also be poisonous when inhaled or ingested. Over 90 percent of poisonings occur in the home so it is critical to make your home safe in order to avoid poisoning.

Below are 10 useful tips for avoiding poisoning:

  1. Never mix chemicals or household products. Doing so could produce a hazardous gas.
  2. Never share prescription medicines. If you are taking more than one drug at a time, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or call the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222). This number will connect you to your local poison center, which will allow you to find out more about possible drug interactions.
  3. Keep all household cleaners, chemicals, medicines, and potentially poisonous substances out of the reach of children or in locked cabinets.
  4. Don’t leave poisonous products unattended while in use. Many incidents happen when adults are distracted for a moment on the phone or at the door.
  5. Read product labels to find out what can be hazardous to kids. Dangerous household items include makeup, personal care products, plants, pesticides, lead, art supplies, alcohol and carbon monoxide.
  6. Check for lead-based paint. Remove any peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  7. Keep cleaning products in their original containers. Never put a potentially poisonous product in something other than its original container, such as a plastic soda bottle, where it could be mistaken for something else.
  8. Safely throw away old medicines and other potential poisons. Check your garage, basement and other storage areas for cleaning and work supplies you no longer need and can discard.
  9. Read product labels to find out what can be hazardous to kids. Dangerous household items include makeup, personal care products, plants, pesticides, lead, art supplies, alcohol and carbon monoxide.
  10. Program the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) into your home and cell phone and post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.

Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday lighting, decorations, trees and more help to put everyone in the holiday mood. All of these things help set a cheerful holiday atmosphere, but they also pose hidden dangers. These tips can help you keep your family and home safe.

1. Holiday Lighting

While twinkle lights “help to make spirits bright”, but they can also start fires.

  • Carefully select flame-resistant strings of lights.
    1. Look for a certification mark (i.e. ELT or UL) to make sure the lights comply with safety standards.
  • Examine the strands of lights you’ve had for years and replace them if the wires are frayed, the cord is tightly kinked or sockets are cracked.
  • Be careful to not overload extension cords or outlet strips.
  • Keep children and pets away from light strings or decorations that use electricity.
    1. Additionally showing pets and children each ornament and telling them it is off limits is a wonderful way to keep them safe.
  • Always turn your lights off when you are going to bed or leaving the house. This not only prevents fires but also will save you money on your electric bill.
  • And never use electric lights on a metallic tree; a single touch can cause electrocution.

2. Decorations

  • Many older ornaments were potentially painted with lead paint.
  • If you even suspect they were, don’t put them on display. This is especially important if you have children.
  • Use only nonflammable or fire retardant ornaments.
  • Keep decorations and other flammable materials away from lit candles and fireplaces.
  • With children in the home, be sure your ornaments are shatterproof and free of sharp edges.
  • Also, hang ornaments with moving parts out of your child’s reach.

3. Trees*

  • If you’ve decided to purchase an artificial tree, select one that has a “fire-resistant” label.
  • When selecting a live tree, look for needles that are fresh, green and that don’t break easily when bent.
  • Be sure to keep the tree watered, to ensure that the needles do not dry out.
  • It is important that when deciding on where to place the tree, that it doesn’t block any major exits
  • Set your tree up away from fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, and other heat sources.
    • Placing trees too close to a heating source is the cause of approximately one-in-six holiday tree fires.

4. Gifts

When choosing a gift for:

  • an older adult, select gifts that aren’t heavy or awkward.
  • Be aware of dangers associated with coin lithium batteries; of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries
  • infants or small children (as you may already know) it’s important to avoid anything with small parts that could become choking hazards.
    • A good rule of thumb is if a part can fit through a toilet paper tube, it can fit inside a child’s mouth.

5. Entertaining

As you’re preparing for guests, keep these safety tips in mind.

  • Don’t leave the kitchen when anything is cooking.
    1. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association.
    2. Two out of every five home fires start in the kitchen. *
  • Be sure the fireplace flue is open BEFORE you light the fire. Keep evergreen boughs, paper, and decorations away from the fireplace.
  • Never burn wrapping papers in the fireplace.
  • Poinsettias are festive. While they are NOT poisonous to pets, according to veterinary experts, they are mildly toxic and CAN cause skin irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Keep them out of your pet’s reach or avoid displaying them at all.
  • Slippery pathways are a danger to people of all ages
  • Older guests may need ramps to get access into relatives homes during the holidays
    1. We rent ramps and stairlifts

6. Security

While you’re busy enjoying holiday parties and events, criminals are diligently watching your home. So be extra careful to ensure that in spite of all of the holiday excitement that you lock your doors and windows when you leave home. You should also:

  • Be creative about where you hide your spare key. Thieves know to check under doormats, above the door, under rocks, and in flower pots.
  • Keep indoor lights on a timer.
  • Leave a TV or radio on so it looks sounds like someone is at home.
  • Not display gifts in front of windows.
  • Ask someone to pick up your newspaper and mail if you’ll be away for extended periods.

Sources:

American Home Shield. (2018). Top 5 Tips for Holiday Home Safety | Home Matters blog. Retrieved from https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/top-5-tips-for-holiday-home-safety/

National Safety Council. (2018). Safety at Home. Retrieved from https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/winter/holiday

*Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2014 NFPA.