Is Your Home Safe for Small Children?

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.child-proof.jpg

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 toScreen-Shot-2016-06-25-at-1.44.32-PM-492x323.png 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 youchild-dishwasher_blog.jpg 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”.

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Give the Gift of Safety! Smart & Secure Stocking Stuffers That Show You Care

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Here’s our list of the top 10 gift ideas to
keep your loved ones prepared for emergency situations:

  1. First Aid Kit — It’s always smart to keep a First Aid Kit in your vehicle as well as your home. You can build the kit yourself and put it in a decorative, personalized container as a gift or you can buy a First Aid Kit. Be sure the kit contains the following important items:
    An assortment of band-aids, a compress, adhesive cloth tape, gause, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone ointment, Asprin, Ibuprophen, Scissors, splint, Ace bandage Wrap, Antiseptic wipes, Thermometer, Flashlight, and a first aid manual.
  2. Vehicle Emergency Kit – Like the first aid kit, you can build one yourself as a gift or purchase a pre-made kit. Many pre-made kits include a first aid kit already! Be sure your vehicle safety kit has:
    a jump starter, a portable air compressor to air tires, a car escape tool set, a lantern, reflective road flags or triangles
    and a fire extinguisher.
  3. Fire Extinguisher – Every home and car should have a small Fire Extinguisher in case of emergency. Kitchen fires are more common than we realize and most insurance companies will discount home insurance policies for homeowners equipped with protection and prevention items such as extinguishers and smoke detectors. The National Fire Protection Agency reported an average of 31 vehicle fires on the road per hour and an average of one death per day and 12 severe injuries as a result.
  4. Computer Protection Programs — Antivirus or anti-virus software (often abbreviated as AV), sometimes known as anti-malware software, is computer software used to prevent, detect and remove malicious software. Learn what the best programs available are here!
  5. Identity Theft Protection Services — Identity theft occurs when someone uses one’s personal identifying information, without authorization, in order to perpetrate fraud or other offenses, such as obtaining loans, services or credit. To reduce that risk Identity Theft Protection Services are available.  Learn what the best services available are here!
  6. Security Camera – Depending on your loved one’s need, a security camera is a great way to add a watchful eye to their home. Security cameras often deter crime when spotted by criminals.  Choosing the right camera and system relies on several factors so we suggest you read this article before purchasing.
  7. Medical Alert System – This is really a necessity for anyone you love who lives alone but especially for an elderly or ill loved one who lives alone. Once again, depending on your loved one’s needs or capabilities, you will need to choose the best system suited for him or her.  Here is a comprehensive guide of what to look for when shopping Medical Alert Systems.
  8. Multi-Purpose Flashlight – A flashlight is always handy, but one with additional options is even better. Today you can get rechargeable, bright flashlights with other useful tools included such as USB ports, a compass, a knife, a emergency signal and more.
  9. Weather and Hazard Alert Radio — These hazard specific radios work only with a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR (Working with the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Alert System) broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).
  10. Safety Training Classes — You can buy your loved ones gift certificates for important classes to train in CPR, Gun Safety and more! Visit our website to learn what classes we have available to equip our students with important knowledge on how to stay safe and prepared to handle dangerous situations.

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We wish you and your loved ones a Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!

Tis the Season for a Home Inspection: DIY Tips for a Safe and Secure Home

Experts say that a little home maintenance goes a long way and saves you money.  For example, trimming away tree branches near or touching your roof can extend the life of your shingles.  This example and many other items also happen to be the minor issues that can make or break the value of your home.  Did you know that poor home maintenance can signify lack of pride in ownership, which can lower the value of your home and legally is a breach of your home insurance contract?

Contractors recommend seasonal detailed inspections of your home along with a regular routine of simply paying attention to the little things. (Regionally the things you need to check may vary.  Most property insurance companies offer regional checklists for homeowners.)

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Here is a recommended list of things you should check out on your home regularly as well as seasonally:

Check your roof for leaks or damage 

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Check for things like peeling shingles or holes.  Be sure to check around vents, skylights and chimneys carefully to be sure there are no gaps or leaks.  If you discover any issues, resolve them as quickly as possible.  If you can’t resolve immediately, patch the area to protect from further damage while you await repairs.  Also, if you discover damage, be sure to check the interior of your home in the same area for ceiling damage

Keeping the air moving in your attic is a must!

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If you don’t have a ridge vent, be sure you keep your gable vents open year round for proper ventilation.

Keep your gutters clean!

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Clogged gutters and drain pipes can also result in damage to your home. Make sure downspouts drain away from your foundation and are clear of debris.

Replace your Air Conditioning filters!

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Filtering the air is only a small part of the necessary filtering for home maintenance.  Not only should you replace your Air Conditioning filters once a month but also check your dryer ventilation and stove ventilation to make sure passageways are clear without obstruction and working properly.  Check these both internally and externally.  Most of us don’t think about this until a problem occurs, but with light maintenance you can extend the life of your unit and avoid possible home damage from flooding units.  Keeping your dryer vent clean saves energy and extends the life of your dryer as well.

Detectors are critical! 

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Ensure that all your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order.  Replace batteries as needed.

Regularly check your plumbing 

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Feel the pipes for leaks and looking underneath.  If you find a leak, do your best to prevent damage and repair.  Often pipes spread or loosen over time as your home shifts and most of us don’t think to check this on a regular basis.  You will be surprised at the minor leaks you can discover under a sink.  And, though a leak can be minor, the damage can be major over time.  While checking your plumbing, be sure to check the hose connections for your washing machine and dishwasher and the tubing connections for your ice maker.

Check for Mold! 

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In the bathrooms, be sure to check shower and tub surrounds for any signs of damage or mold as well as your toilet supply/shut-off valve.

Window Seals Needed! 

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Regardless of the season, drafty doors and windows cost money! A large enough draft invites damaging rodents into your home, but even a small draft can suck away energy costing you hundreds! Replace seals as needed.

No Holes Allowed! 

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Check the exterior of your home for cracks or holes in your siding or paint.  Replace caulk immediately if you see areas where it has cracked or fallen away leaving a gap without a seal.  Also, when you discover any damage – verify that it is caused by wear and tear instead of rodents.

Know Your Water Heater Condition! 

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Check your water heater thoroughly to verify that it is in proper running condition without leaks.  At least once a year you should drain the water heater and remove sediment from the bottom of the tank.  This will also extend the life of this very expensive appliance.

No Pests Allowed! 

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Check your home for termites and other rodents by doing a full walk around inspection of the exterior of your home and also checking your attic if able.  Signs would include droppings, heavy dust piles, and holes. Remember, never store firewood within 2 feet of your home and always store it at least 18″ above ground to prevent termites.

Check the Sockets! 

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Electrical fires remain one of the main reasons for total home losses due to house fires.  Prevention is key and takes little effort.  Walk around your home to check all of your outlets for proper hot, neutral and ground.  Check all electrical cords to ensure there is no damage.  Remove outdated electric air fresheners from outlets and do not leave active air fresheners in outlets when not in use.


Staying on top of regular home maintenance helps you avoid costly repairs or worse! Scheduling seasonal inspections is a great way to start doing what you can to prevent hazards and expenses that you don’t need while also making your home a better place to live.  Now is the time to get your home back to 100% so you can relax and enjoy your family and friends!

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