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If you have young children, or expect a visit from friends or relatives with little ones in tow, it pays to ensure your home is free of hazards. The last thing you want is an injury that could have easily been prevented.

 

Here are some basic childproofing tips.

                  • Remove everything that is toxic, hot or sharp, from within reach of a child. (For example, the leaves of some types of house plants are toxic.)
                  • If possible, keep children out of the kitchen while cooking.
                  • Install plug-in covers in electrical outlets. (These are inexpensive and can be purchased at any hardware store.)
                  • Block or gate off areas where kids may fall.
                  • Remove "pulling down" hazards, such as a heavy plant that a child can pull off a table.
                  • Make sure there are screens on all open windows.

Finally, watch your pets. Even the most gentle dog or cat can act unpredictably around children – especially if they're not used to them.

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You have smoke detectors. Your doors have good locks. The bathtub has a slip-free pad. By all accounts, your home is a safe and secure place for your family to live.

 

However, there are some hazards that many homeowners don't consider or even know about. For instance: 

  1. Blocked eavestroughs. Eavestroughs clogged with leaves and other debris can cause rainwater to overflow next to your foundation and create a basement leak. 
  1. Clogged dryer vents. High temperature air combined with lint is a near ideal condition for a fire. Check and clear the dryer vent at least once a year. 
  1. Dirty faucet heads. Kitchen and bath faucets often have built-in screens to spray the water evenly. Unfortunately, dirt and other contaminates can build up on these and, possibly, affect the quality of the water. Clean faucet heads regularly. 
  1. Tripping hazards. You could step around a loose section of carpet for years and then one day, in a moment of distraction, trip over it and fall. When you see a potential tripping hazard in your home, don't ignore it. Fix it.

 Being diligent about home safety takes a little more time. But, if it prevents one injury or illness, it's worth the effort. 

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Electricity in the home is so commonplace that it's easy to forget how dangerous it can be. According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, an electrical shock can knock you unconscious, cause a serious burn, or even stop your heartbeat.

 

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the risk.

  •  Install safety plugs in outlets that young children can reach.
  • Never plug in anything with a frayed or otherwise damaged power cord.
  • Never use a plugged-in computer, hair dryer, or other electrically-powered item near a filled sink or bathtub. This includes phones with power cords.
  • Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or while standing in water. (Water is a remarkably efficient conductor of electricity.)
  • Always turn off the appropriate breaker before doing any electrical work, such as installing a new light fixture.
  • When replacing a broken light bulb, turn off the breaker first. Although the glass is broken, the filament may still be conducting electricity.

Finally, unless you're an expert or an electrician, never do any major electrical work on your own. Hire a professional.

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