With summertime upon us, many are considering yard parties. Fun in the sun, grilling, outdoor sports, and swimming all sound grand this time of year and that’s because it is grand!
Most outdoor parties come and go without a hitch, but unfortunately accidents do happen. With that in mind, here are some simple ways to avoid accidents and host a worry free backyard bash:
- Thoroughly inspect your yard for any things that could be a danger such as wasp nests, standing water (mosquito breeding grounds),anthills, holes, trip hazards, rotting trees or limbs that could fall, rusting equipment, low hanging electrical wires, or anything you can see as a danger – particularly to small children or adults who may be under the influence. (It’s a party, there will be alcohol!) Remove the hazards, cover them or flag them with reflective materials.
- Be sure moving vehicles are away from your guests. If possible, have a pedestrian entry to your party distanced from the parking.
- Be prepared to accommodate children if your party is family friendly. There’s more to this than just saying it’s ok to bring your children because once they are there if they are not occupied they will be underfoot and more likely to have or cause accidents. Consider the age ranges and have play areas set up for little ones and some outdoor sports for the teens. Be sure there are no choking hazards with any of the toys you provide. Perhaps, ask guests in advance, what they recommend for their children or suggest their children bring their own entertainment to share.
- Food safety is key to avoiding a party gone wrong! If your outdoor fun includes grilling hamburgers, play it safe by handling raw ground beef carefully. First, be sure you keep the meat cold (40 degrees F or less) until it is cooked. Second, cook ground beef to a safe temperature of 160 degrees F so that bacteria such as E. coli are killed. Poultry products, including ground poultry, should always be cooked to at least 165 °F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers should be refrigerated no more than two hours after cooking. When preparing food, never use the same dish for raw meats and foods that will not be cooked. Don’t let perishable food sit out while swimming or during other activities. If the temperature is above 90 degrees F, food is not safe to sit out longer than one hour! Keep hands and all utensils clean when preparing food. To learn more about grilling safely, check out our previous blog about Backyard Grilling Tips.
- Be responsible with alcoholic beverages. Adult beverages go hand in hand with adults partying and there’s nothing wrong with that, but as a host there are certain precautions you should take to prevent any incidents caused by alcohol. First and foremost you want to make sure none of your guests get behind the wheel after heavy drinking. Of course, it’s best to prevent heavy drinking if you are able. Some easy ways to do that are;
Make food more easily available than alcohol. When your guests have a full tummy it slows the effects of alcohol and when alcohol isn’t right at the forefront of the party guests will likely drink less.
Have a bartender or someone in charge of serving the drinks so that guests won’t be able to overpour the alcohol or consume it at a faster rate.
To learn more about hosting a party with alcohol as well as being a guest who likes to consume alcohol, check out our Holiday Party Safety Blog!
- If you have a swimming pool on your property, be aware of the dangers and how you can prevent accidents. Prior to your party, make sure you have adequate anti-entrapment drain covers for your pool. During your party, have a designated adult who knows how to swim watching over swimming pool activity at all times. Do not allow people who have consumed a lot of alcohol in or close to the pool. If at all possible, have someone at your party who has been CPR/First Aid trained. Learn more about swimming pool safety not just for your party, but for year round safety on the pool safety website.
- Is your pet ready to party? Pet safety at parties is easy to overlook. Of course you want to include your pet in the festivities, but it’s important to honestly assess your pet before adding him or her to the guest list. If your pet is aggressive in any way, overly excitable, or very shy, he or she may not be a good guest at the party and may be better off at the sitters for the day. Also, consider if any of your guests have allergies to pet dander. And, lastly, consider if your beloved pet can avoid eating the wrong things at a party. With so many guests and so many plates of food surrounding, your pet may snatch a bite of something you would never give him/her under normal circumstances or your guests may think it’s fun to give him/her some of the food available. Some food that we humans enjoy is toxic to our furry friends, so be sure that if your pet is wandering around your party someone is watching over him/her carefully to be sure no dangerous food is gobbled up.
- A first aid kit is always important to have on hand in any household, but most especially when the number of people on your property is larger than usual. To learn how to build a first aid kit for you home (as well as your for your vehicle) and for other helpful first aid information visit the Healthy Essentials Website.
- Earthquakes happen! Obviously your party would be the worst time for one, but it’s always best to be prepared! If you and your quests should be outdoors in the event of an earthquake, remember to Move away from buildings, structures and utility wires. Once in the open, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Stay there until the shaking stops. When the shaking stops, look around. If there is a clear path to safety, leave and go to an open space away from damaged areas. If you are trapped, do not move around just call out for help so others at the party can locate you and assist. Be prepared to “Drop, Cover, and Hold on” in the likely event of aftershocks. Once safe, monitor local news reports for emergency information and instructions. To learn more about earthquake safety and preparedness, please be sure to check out our earthquake safety blog for insightful information about preparedness and safety before, during an after an earthquake.
The best way to enjoy a party is safely. Being prepared for emergencies and using preventative tactics is the easiest way to ensure a safe but great time for you and your guests.
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When we hear the term “child proof” it seems to exclude babies. Once your little one is able to crawl, it’s time to be sure your home is 100% baby and child proof.
According to KidsHealth.org an average of 35% of children’s deaths and injuries in the U.S. occur at home for children 3 years old and under.
Current statistics reveal suffocation as the leading cause of death for small children while drowning is very close as the second leading cause. These are just two of many preventable deaths and injuries that account for these statistics.
It is always best to be armed with knowledge in the event of any health emergency, so we begin by recommending you receive First Aid, CPR and AED training to assist infants as well as adults. (You can learn more about available training here). But we’d also like to offer some simple safety tips you can begin immediately in your home to eliminate any unsafe circumstances:
- Do not leave standing water in your bathtub or sink. News reports have shown us, infants have incredible climbing abilities and can easily get to these places before you have a chance to notice. (Never leave a child in a bath without an adult present.)
- Never leave a child unattended near a swimming pool. This means pay close attention and do not be distracted by your cell phone, chatting with a friend or anything that has you looking away from your child longer than 5 seconds.
- Cover your hot tub at all times when it is not in use. Otherwise, treat it as you would the items listed above because any standing water – even the smallest amount – is enough to drown a person of any age under ce circumstances.
- Toxic substances should be completely inaccessible to anyone who is not and adult. They can be a catch all phrase for anything from cleaning supplies to medicines to cooking supplies. In fact, some things that aren’t toxic to adults can be toxic to small children (and pets). The best way to block easy access is, of course, cabinet locks. Though there are many cabinet locks available on the market, studies have shown not all have been reliable. For a list of the top rated Child Proof Cabinet Locks of 2016 click here.
- Keep your purse, brief case, or any baggage you use out of reach. Your baggage is generally filled with chocking hazards, toxic items, sharp items and much more. The cap of an ink pen can easily be swallowed while an ink pen itself can result in the loss of an eye.
- Always use electrical outlet covers. Electrical outlets are well known to be appealing to small children. They want to touch them or stick items inside of them which can leak to shock, electrocution or even a house fire. Electrical outlet covers are cheap and easy to find and install. You can find them at just about any department store, hardware store or online.
- Keep your tool chest and tool shed locked any time it is not in use and when in use, do not allow children to be present. Children are curious and relate to touch and actions. Your tools will appear as enticing as toys to them but are obviously extremely dangerous in the hands of children.
- Prevent trip and fall hazards by keeping all electrical cords against baseboards, under carpets or inside walls. Make sure all rugs are completely flat and not curling up at any edges. Block staircases with child and baby gates. (The top 5 gates available are listed here.) Make sure open windows have screen protection and open doors are blocked by gates as well.
- ANY item small enough for a child to grab and put into his/her mouth is a choke hazard. Choking hazards are pretty much any item a baby can grab and put into his/her mouth. This can range from coins, or rings, or candy, or pen caps and so on. Also, sometimes things that aren’t on the loose can be choke hazards – for instance, plastic eyes on a stuffed animal can be ripped off and swallowed or buttons on coat. It’s a lot to consider, but you have to be constantly mindful to prevent exposure of these things to a small child or baby.
- Consider serious dangers such as heavy items on shelves or tables that can be pulled down by a child. For instance, one of the largest causes of children’s injuries is the child pulling a television cord or stand causing the television to topple over on top of him/her.
- Be mindful of sharp furniture corners that can also cause injuries to roaming babies who are trying to maneuver around the home. They may grab hold of a table to lift themselves, only to catch their eye on a sharp corner resulting in injury. Furniture edge corner guards are sold at most department stores, home furnishing stores and online.
- Cordless window covers prevent strangulation. Both pets and small children have accidentally gotten caught in the hanging cords of blinds before resulting in death. If you currently have cords hanging from your window treatments or blinds, tie them up high and out of reach of children (and pets).
- Be aware of burn hazards. Burns happen faster that you realize. A child can easily approach the stove, oven or BBQ Grill while you’re busy handling the food. Even if the item is not currently in use, it is likely still hot from when you had it turned on. As a parent, you may be juggling many things trying to cook and manage your child at the same time. While you’re cooking, however, it is one of the most dangerous times to juggle. A child can crawl under you while you’re holding a pot of boiling water, for example. If at all possible, keep children away from cooking areas but in view while you cook or have someone assist you with attending to both at the same time.
- Cover your knobs!! This means door knobs, oven controller knobs, and any knobs you can to prevent your child escaping, going where he/she shouldn’t, or turning on a dangerous appliance. Knob covers are another item that’s easily available to you via shopping at any hardware store, baby supplies store or online.
- If you own a firearms, keep it locked away! Even the smallest of children can accidentally get a hold of and shoot a gun. We’ve all heard the horror stories of a child accidentally shooting him/herself or a sibling. Please read our previous blog about gun safety at home to learn how to prevent such a tragedy.
There are several tips to prevent your child from suffocating while sleeping and the safest ways to put your child to bed. Specialists advise it is safer to sleep without your baby in the bed with you, even though it seems like the best way to protect your child for many reasons it is not. However, if you follow these guidelines it will help your baby to remain safe. For more tips on cribs that prevent injury and how to put your child safely to be without hazards, click here.
While this seems like a lot of reading, the truth is we’ve only scratched the surface. Being a parent is a very detailed but rewarding responsibility. It can be challenging at times, especially if you are a first time parent. We hope this information is helpful to you but we also urge you to learn more about what you can do to protect your child on the National Safety Council’s Website here.
Be sure to subscribe to our blog for safety tips that can help you and your family and remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.