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A few secrets for creating a ‘Home Safe Home’

When it comes to safety, there’s no better place to start than inside your own home.

Sure, there will always be risks, even if you somehow manage to steer clear of the most dangerous rooms in your house: the kitchen and bathroom. But maybe we can help reduce those risks through some simple and easy steps.

Some suggestions may seem obvious: Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. Others may seem more obscure: Stuff towels beneath book shelves to avoid tipping. But hopefully all of these tips will help make your home a little sweeter, and a little safer, for you and your family.

First things first

Smoke detectors: You’ve got to have them. Make sure to install smoke detectors on every floor of your house. If they’re already installed, make sure they work. A good rule of thumb is to replace the batteries every time you change the clocks for daylight savings. Carbon monoxide detectors are a good idea, too. They should be mounted outside all sleeping areas.

Overloaded outlets: Avoid a love affair with extension cords and power strips. An overloaded outlet – or an extension cord that isn’t suited to a major appliance – can create a fire hazard.

Step into the kitchen:

Stovetop cooking: When you’re making dinner, use the back burners first. This is a simple, but effective, technique for avoiding burns when a child’s hand wanders a little too close to the stove. If you need to use all the burns, turn the handles toward the back of the stove to keep hot pots from being spilled.

Now to the bedroom:

Furniture fears: Make sure that heavy objects such as dressers and bookshelves can’t tip over if a child decides to climb. The Consumer Product Safety Commission ranks furniture tip-overs No. 3 on its list of hidden home dangers behind magnets and recalled toys. You can either anchor furniture to the wall (there are gadgets for that) or stuff a towel beneath the front feet to angle it backward.

Outlet covers: An plastic plug is all it takes to keep curious fingers out of electrical outlets. It’s cheap and it could save a life.

How about the bathroom:

Locked cupboards: Keep medicines and cleaners locked safely in the cupboard. We’re not talking about padlocks, but rather about childproof latches that would prevent toddlers from ingesting something that could be poisonous.

Turn down the thermostat: Turning down your water heater to 120 degrees to avoid potential burns in the bath. It will reduce your energy bill and, perhaps, avoid an ER visit.

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