Here’s a great New Year’s resolution. Why not resolve to make 2008 a safer year? Below are 15 tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with things you can do to help prevent fires, burns, shocks, falls, drowning and other common hazards. Even if you do only a few things on this list, you will improve the safety of your home and thereby protect yourself and your family:
1. Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
2. Purchase fire extinguishers for the kitchen. Buy the right type.
3. Have a professional electrician inspect your home’s electrical wiring system at least every 10 years.
4. Have the newly developed arc-fault circuit-interrupter, a device designed to minimize the fire risks associated with certain wiring defects, installed in your electric panel.
5. Have an electrician install ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCIs) in areas where there is an increased risk of a shock hazard such as where water may be present (including outdoor circuit, bathrooms, and kitchens).
6. Regularly test all ground-fault circuit-interrupters (GFCIs) that are already present.
7. For families with small children, install safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers to prevent access to medicines and cleaners.
8. Use safety gates to help keep small children away from stairs and rooms containing hazards, but beware of the old-style accordion gates, which can be an entrapment and strangulation hazard.
9. Install anti-scald devices, especially at baths and showers, to regulate water temperature and help prevent burns.
10. Make sure lids of toy chests have mechanisms to prevent the lid from falling on a child’s neck or from closing and trapping a child inside the chest.
11. Use window guards and safety netting for balconies and decks to help prevent serious falls.
12. Use outlet covers to protect children from electric shock or electrocution.
13. Avoid the use of blinds with hanging cords. Use window blind cord safety devices to help prevent strangulation in the loops of cords.
14. Every member of the family should have the appropriate type and proper-fitting safety helmet and other safety equipment for riding on bicycles, scooters, skates and skateboards.
15. Develop a home fire escape plan and rehearse with all members of your family.