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Home Safety Tips

Changes To Make To Make Your Home More Safe

A national survey commissioned by the Home Safety Council reveals that nearly six out of 10 American parents know that there are actions that should be taken to reduce the risk of a family member suffering a home-related injury. Further evidence of the need for education about home safety is found in the Home Safety Council's State of Home Safety in America™, which shows that nearly 21 million medical visits and 20,000 deaths result from home injuries each year.

While most parents recognize the importance of home safety, they report a variety of reasons for not taking direct action to increase the safety of their homes. Leading the list of most common excuses: not knowing what actions to take (32 percent) and not having enough time (24 percent).

"It's a myth that keeping loved ones safe in and around our homes requires a lot of time and money," says Meri-K Appy, Home Safety Council president. "Parents can reduce the risk of injury quickly and simply by taking a hands-on approach to safety. The first step is recognizing the dangers in our homes. Home Safety Month helps parents take the actions needed to keep those dangers under control."

Hands on Home Safety

Survey findings show that while 60 percent of American parents have made at least one safety improvement in the past month, they need guidance in prioritizing which actions are most important. During the Hands on Home Safety campaign, the Home Safety Council is urging families to make three key changes during June to improve the safety of their homes:

1. Know the number: 1-800-222-1222.

According to the Home Safety Council's survey, nearly 75 percent of American families admit that the poison control hotline number is not posted by every phone. Memorize the poison control center toll-free number and keep the number by every phone in the home. It's a good idea to program the number into cell phones too.

2. Lower the water heater temperature.

Survey findings show that nearly 80 percent of respondents did not know the safe temperature setting for their water heater. It takes only one second for a young child to be injured by 160 degree Fahrenheit liquid, and only five seconds at 140 degrees. Check the setting of your water heater and make sure it is set no higher than 120 degrees F.

3. Brighten the lights.

The State of Home Safety in America shows that slips and falls are the leading cause of home injury and related death. More than one-third of American families have not installed lighting at the top and bottom of stairs to prevent slips and falls. Use bright lights at the top and bottom of stairs and make sure hallways and dark areas in the home are well-lit at night with nightlights.

The Home Safety Council encourages families to make safety a priority year-round. Use the council's top 10 tips below to increase the safety of your home.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.
  • Develop a fire escape plan for your family that identifies two exits out of every room and where to meet outside. Practice makes perfect – hold a family fire drill at least twice each year.
  • Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking on the stove.
  • Keep all stairways, paths and walkways well lit.
  • Install grab bars in bath and shower stalls, and use a non-slip mat or adhesive safety strips inside bathtubs and showers.
  • "Post emergency numbers next to every phone in your home, including the Poison Control Hotline number (1-800-222-1222).
  • Install child locks on all cabinets used to store potentially dangerous items.
  • Keep your water heater setting at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
  • Install four-sided fencing with self-locking and self-closing gates. Fencing should completely isolate the pool from the home and be at least five feet high.
  • Constantly supervise children in or near water such as pools, ponds, bathtubs and buckets.

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