Tag: safety

5 Ways to Make Homes Safer

Injuries that occur around the home contribute to millions of medical visits and tens of thousands of fatalities each year. Falls account for the largest percentage of home accidents, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that around 30,000 fall-related fatalities occur each year in the United States.

Many home accidents are entirely preventable when proper caution is exercised. As homeowners prepare for home-improvement projects, improving safety inside and outside the home should be a priority.

1. Improve lighting

One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of falls is to improve lighting around the home. The National Institutes of Health state that adequate lighting is important at entrances to the home, stairways, hallways, and other frequently traversed areas. Make sure lighting fixtures are using the highest wattage light bulb allowed. Artificial lighting sources become even more vital in fall and autumn, when natural light is less abundant in a home. In addition, install lighting outdoors by the front door, over the garage and where garbage pails are stored to facilitate safe passage.

2. Eliminate slick surfaces

Improving traction around the house also can minimize falls. Throw rugs and runners can be made more secure with nonslip rubber backings. Bath rugs can reduce slipping on wet surfaces in the bathroom. Also, nonslip mats can be used inside of showers and bathtubs.

Use shoe trays to reduce puddling from melting snow or rain runoff in entryways. Mop up spills quickly, and consider the use of matte- or textured-finished flooring to improve stability underfoot. Promptly remove snow and ice from driveways and walkways. For those who live in cold climates, heated concrete can help melt precipitation before it accumulates.

3. Make needed repairs

Repair loose floorboards and pull carpet taut if it has started to stretch out. Address cracks outdoors and ensure that patio stones, bricks and pavers are secure and level to reduce tripping hazards. Fix areas of the landscape where water may pool and freeze, creating potential hazards.

4. Declutter all spaces

Remove unnecessary items and furniture from rooms to free up more space to get around. Be sure there are no obstructions in walkways, entryways and near doors. Keep staircases clear at all times. 5. Invest in assistive devices Handrails, grab bars, nonslip stair treads, and many other devices can make homes safer for people of all ages and abilities. Outfit cabinets and closets with organizers that put frequently used items within easy reach. A sturdy step stool can reduce the risk of injury while reaching for items stored on high shelves.

Taking measures to reduce the risk of falling around the home is a worthwhile home improvement project.

Potential Hazards In and Out of the Water

In warm weather, many people seek cooling relief in ponds, rivers, oceans, pools, and other sources of water. Swimming is a popular warm-weather activity, but it can quickly turn deadly if swimmers are not careful in the water.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that, between the years of 2005 and 2014, an average of 10 deaths per day in the United States were attributed to unintentional drownings unrelated to boating. About one in five people who die from drowning are children age 14 and younger.

The World Health Organizations says drowning is the third-leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. Drowning is a concern when in the water, but it’s not the only potential hazard.

Harmful Algae Blooms

Algae are plant-like species that are found all over the planet. Algae inhabit different bodies of water and can be important food sources for marine life. The CDC notes that, in certain circumstances, an overgrowth of algae may overpower water sources. Not all algae are harmful, but some blooms will produce toxins that can be dangerous to people and animals. Such algae may lower levels of oxygen in the water, killing plants and animals. Individuals are urged to avoid areas with harmful algae blooms and restrict fishing for food consumption during times of blooms.

Shorebreak

The National Ocean Services says a shorebreak is an ocean condition in which waves break directly on the shore. The power of these waves can cause injuries to the body, potentially hurting the spines of people who dive headfirst into the break. Others may be knocked over by waves and suffer injuries as a result. Swimmers should observe waves and ask a lifeguard about conditions before going into the water.

Jellyfish

Sharks elicit fear among many ocean swimmers, but smaller animals can be dangerous as well. Most jellyfish can sting, but not all have venom that hurts humans, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Around 70 species of jellies can harm or occasionally kill people. Ocean swimmers should take note of jellyfish postings at the beach and examine the sand as well. Wet tentacles can still sting, even on washed-up jellyfish.

Unsupervised Activity

It’s essential that swimmers exercise caution around any body of water. Because water can be unpredictable, it’s always best to swim with a friend and stick to areas protected by lifeguards. The Red Cross suggests preventing unsupervised access to water structures and maintain constant supervision whenever kids are around the water — even if lifeguards are present. Adults should avoid distractions and alcohol when supervising kids. Summer is a season to enjoy the water. Awareness, preparation and supervision can keep water-lovers safe.

Safety Tips for Parents of Young Farmers

People who live in cities, exurbs or suburbs may not come across farms very frequently. But millions of people, including children, still live on farms. In fact, in 2009 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that more than one million children under the age of 20 lived, worked or had a regular presence on farms in the United States.

Protecting children from injury on farms, especially those who perform work on farms, is of paramount importance. The American Society of Safety Engineers offers the following safety tips to parents of children who will be spending time on farms.

• Know and obey the laws. Various state and federal laws are in place to protect young children from farm-related accidents and injuries. Age requirements dictate which jobs children can perform on a farm, and parents should adhere to those requirements. Asking children to do more than they’re physically capable of can lead to accident, injury or even death.

• Review equipment operation instructions. Before assigning children a task on the farm, parents should review the equipment operation instructions. Doing so can help parents reacquaint themselves with tools and equipment they may not have used in awhile, and that can make it easier for them to teach kids how to use such equipment. In addition, reviewing equipment instructions may provide insight to parents unsure if their children are old enough to use certain tools.

• Inspect equipment. Before children perform any tasks on the farm, parents should inspect the equipment their children are likely to use to make sure each tool is safe. Make sure tools are in proper working order, as broken or poorly working equipment increases the risk of accident or injury.

• Enroll children in farm safety camps. The ASSE recommends that parents contact their local Cooperative Extension and Farm Bureau offices to enroll children in farm safety camps. Such camps can teach kids safe farming techniques and the proper ways to use age-appropriate tools.

• Set a positive example. Another way for parents to protect their children on the farm is to set a positive example. Parents can do so in various ways. Using equipment properly, removing tractor keys from ignitions when tractors are not in use and exercising caution when using hazardous materials shows kids the importance of caution when working on farms.

Hundreds of thousands of children perform jobs on farms across the country. Parents who want to teach their kids to farm should always do so with safety in mind.

Safety Tips for Grilling Season

People have been cooking meals over open flames since the discovery of fire. Even today, when there are so many ways to cook a meal, many still insist there’s nothing better than the taste of food cooked on the grill.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, which tracks industry trends, points out that one-third of consumers plan to use their grill or smoker more often this year. Even though grilling is widely associated with summer, a growing number of people are embracing year-round grilling. HPBA’s CEO Jack Goldman has said, “Barbecuing is no longer just a pastime, but an integral part of the North American lifestyle.”

Seven in 10 adults in the United States and eight out of 10 in Canada own a grill or smoker. With so many people firing up their grills, it’s important to recognize the importance of grilling safety. Each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns, advises the National Fire Protection Association. Here’s how to stay safe.

• Only grill outside. Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors. Grills should be placed well away from the home. Keep grills away from deck railings, eaves, overhangs, and tree branches.

• Keep the grill clean. Thoroughly clean the grill prior to first use, and keep it tidy all year long. Grease or fat buildup can ignite and cause a fire.

• Always attend the grill. Grill distraction-free and keep an eye on the food being cooked. Simply stepping away for a few moments can lead to a fire or accident. • Start fires safely. Charcoal grills and gas grills may be lit using electronic starters that do not require fire. If using starter fluid, only do so on charcoal, and do not add more fluid or other flammable liquids after the fire has ignited.

• Check for gas leaks. Whether the gas grill is hooked up to a propane tank or the natural gas supply of a home, ensure that the hoses or tanks are not leaking. Apply a light soap-and-water solution to hoses to see if they bubble from leaking gas.

• Keep baking soda nearby. Baking soda can control grease fires, but it’s also helpful to have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand on hand for other types of fires.

• Watch children and pets. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from grilling areas.

• Wait for the grill and coals to cool. Practice safety around the grill until all coals are cool and the grill is no longer hot to the touch. Only then should the grill be moved or relocated.

Grilling is a passion that is enjoyed throughout much of the year. Safely cook outdoors by heeding safety guidelines.

Creating Kid Friendly Spaces At Home

Maintaining a home that is welcoming and kid-friendly can be challenging. Kids are full of energy and oftentimes put fun ahead of tidiness. But no matter how energetic their youngsters are, parents can still employ several strategies to ensure their homes are both sophisticated and child-friendly.

Consider an open floor plan.

Rooms that flow into one another make it easier to keep tabs on children. Such rooms also allow residents and guests to mingle in separate rooms but not be too far away from one another.

Choose washable fabrics.

Upholstery will need to stand up to the abuse kids can dish out. Sofas and chairs with slipcovers can be advantageous because many slipcovers can be easily removed and laundered. Patterned fabrics will hide some stains, while treated fabrics may resist liquid spills for easier cleanup.

Create a catch-all spot.

Special bins or other organizational tools in the entryway can help to cull clutter when children come in the house from school or play. Be sure the keep cubbies, containers and coat hooks at a child-friendly height.

Look for high-traffic rugs.

Rugs designed for high-traffic areas will be more forgiving when children march across them several times per day. There are no rules that say you can’t bring an outdoor rug inside, and these rugs tend to be easier to clean. • Ensure there is plenty of seating. Sectionals give children ample room to spread out. And ample seating ensures there is enough room for kids to invite their friends over to hang out.

Think outside pink and blue.

For children’s rooms, make sure they’re colorful, but consider other hues to give the rooms some personality. Focus on a hobby or activity and borrow the color scheme from the accessories used for decorating. • Hang whimsical artwork. Employ framing and lighting to make kids’ artwork look like professional pieces. Routinely change the pictures when a new look is desired.

Designate a place for play.

Devote an entire room or a nook in a house for imaginative play. Store toys here so these items will not create clutter in individual bedrooms. Creating child-friendly spaces while ensuring a home maintains a sophisticated feel is easier than parents might think.

Safety Renovations for Seniors’ Homes

Feeling safe and secure at home is a priority for any homeowner. But safety is of particular concern for aging men and women who are at greater risk of being involved in accidents at home than younger men and women.

Harvard Health Publishing says that accidents at home are among the leading causes of injury and death in the United States. The chances for fatalities increases as one ages, and by age 75 and older, men and women are almost four times as likely to die in a home accident as people a decade younger.

As people age, their balance, eyesight and general physical abilities can begin to diminish. Furthermore, a fall or incident that may only bruise a younger individual can cause more serious breaks or damage for seniors, resulting in potentially lengthy recovery times.

The Home Care Assistance organization says that one million elderly people are admitted to the emergency room for injuries every year. People concerned about the safety of their homes or the homes of their aging loved ones can retrofit such properties to make them safer.

Falls

According to The Senior Social Club, which offers care and community services to seniors, falls are the most common accidents affecting seniors. One out of every three seniors aged 65 and older falls at least once a year.

In addition to working with doctors to improve mobility and modify medications that may cause unsteadiness, changes around the home can help. Grab bars placed in bathrooms and high-traffic areas can help seniors get stay more stable when changing from sitting to standing positions.

Potential tripping hazards should be assessed. Area rugs without nonskid backings, clutter on floors, extension cords that extend into walking areas, and uneven flooring pose tripping hazards. Anti-slip coatings can be added to floors to reduce the risk of tripping.

Poorly lit staircases and entryways also can contribute to falls. Consider the installation of motion-activated lighting so that dim areas can be automatically brightened when necessary. A nightlight or LED lights placed near molding can help guide seniors to the bathroom during midnight visits.

Physical limitations

Arthritis can impede seniors’ ability to turn on and off appliances, water faucets or handle certain kitchen tools. Kitchen and bathroom modifications can include the installation of ergonomic and user-friendly handles and spigots.

Task lighting can make it easier to prepare meals, and appliances that automatically turn off after a certain period of time can be a safety feature for forgetful individuals. Reorganize kitchen cabinets to make commonly used items as accessible as possible.

Smart Homes

Friends or family members can have greater control over seniors’ homes by installing smart home systems. This way they can remotely adjust thermostats, control lights, view cameras, engage locks or alarm systems, and much more without having to be at the home. This can seniors allow seniors to maintain their independence while offering peace of mind to their loved ones.

Certain home modifications can reduce seniors’ injury risk.

Prepare Your Vehicles For Harsh Weather

As the seasons change, motorists must take steps to safeguard their vehicles, especially when the season changes from fall to winter. Each winter, many vehicles are subjected to sub-zero temperatures, snowfall and icy roads, and such conditions can take their toll on vehicles over time. Taking steps to prepare vehicles for winter weather is a vital step that can make cars and trucks safer for drivers and their passengers.

Battery

Old batteries should be replaced before winter begins. Without a strong, properly functioning battery, engines cannot turn over. Most batteries last between three and five years. However, extreme cold can compromise batteries, especially those that have been around awhile. Batteries are made up of acid and water, and cold temperatures can freeze the water, thereby affecting battery performance. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at 32 F, the average battery loses 35 percent of its strength. Newer batteries can be protected by starting the vehicle each day to warm up and recharge the battery. Let the car run for at least 10 minutes if you cannot take an extended drive.

Exterior Maintenance

Keeping a car waxed and sealed can help maintain a durable exterior finish. This includes not only the paint, but the rubber and vinyl parts of the car’s exterior. Winter is a good time to switch to a heavy-duty synthetic wax that can shield against water and road salts. High-quality sealants can be used on bumpers, trim and rubber door seals as added protection. Speak with an automotive retailer or even the car dealership if you are unsure which products will make your car’s parts most durable for winter weather. Do not stop washing your car just because the weather is cold. Slushy, wet roads and snow-melting salts can speed up the formation of rust or other decay on the undercarriage of the vehicle. These materials will need to be periodically cleaned off. Flush the underside of the vehicle whenever possible, taking advantage of any dry, slightly warmer days.

Tire Pressure

According to the automotive retailer Pep Boys, vehicle tires lose a pound of air pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Many modern cars will alert to changes in air pressure, and drivers should be diligent in maintaining the proper tire pressure. Fuel economy as well as handling ability can decline when tires are not inflated properly. Tires can be refilled at many gas stations for little cost.

Wipers

Visibility is key in hazardous weather conditions, and keeping the windshield clean is a priority. This means ensuring there is enough windshield wiper fluid in the car and that it is a product that will not freeze. Wiper blades can freeze and crack in the winter. Older blades may be more susceptible to damage. It’s a worthy investment to replace existing wiper blades at the start of each winter. When vehicles are parked, pull the wipers off of the windshield to safeguard them from sticking and cracking.

Cold weather requires drivers to amp up their vehicle maintenance routines. Consult with a mechanic or automotive retailer for more ideas and products that can help your vehicles operate safely and efficiently this winter.

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Safety Measures for Winter Drivers

Winter weather causes many people to retreat indoors until the spring thaw. However, for those who embrace the cooler temperatures or find that life must go on despite snow and ice, taking inventory of their vehicles is a must before the first snowflakes start to fall.

Tire care is an especially important area of vehicle maintenance. The tire experts at Michelin say that regular tires may be ineffective for winter driving. Summer tires are made from materials that are optimized for warm conditions. When the mercury drops, these same materials can harden, reducing their ability to grip the road. That lack of traction can be compounded by the presence of snow or ice. Even all-season tires, which are designed to be driven year-round, can be insufficient in severe weather conditions. Winter tires can help drivers safely navigate winter roadways.

Bridgestone Tires says that having the right snow tires matters when driving in winter weather conditions. It’s important to look for tires that can disperse water sufficiently and also grip the road. Snow tires are designed to remain softer and more flexible to conform to the road better in cold conditions. Some winter tires are even studded to provide better traction.

Unfortunately, even the best winter tires cannot provide perfect traction on slippery roadways. That is why it is essential – in conjunction with the use of winter tires or snow chains – to modify driving techniques to navigate safely.

· Drive slowly.  Slow down on winter roads. Allow a greater distance for stopping than for dry conditions. Slippery conditions can make it more challenging to stop, and excessive speeds can make the situation worse.

· Shift into low gear. On hills, rely on low gears to maximize traction to travel up and down hills. This can minimize skids or sliding.

· Get the vehicle a tuneup. In addition to tires, be sure the braking system, battery and other major components of the vehicle are in good working order.

· Replace windshield wipers. Reduced visibility can compromise the safety of

drivers and their passengers. Replace windshield wiper blades before winter arrives. Consider purchasing winter-rated windshield blades.

· Know how to recover from a skid. When skids occur on black ice or slush, drivers should take their feet off of the pedals and steer gently in the direction they want to go. As the vehicle regains traction, only then should the brakes or accelerator be applied.

Winter weather requires making some vehicle modifications, and drivers may want to alter the way they drive to be more safe on the road.

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Safely Enjoy the Outdoors in Colder Months

It may be chilly, but that’s no reason to stay indoors. Some of the best opportunities for outdoor exploration can only take place during the coldest months of the year; it just requires special preparation.

Head-to-Toe Coverage

For maximum safety and comfort, it’s important to keep your head, fingers and toes dry and toasty. A good pair of waterproof hiking boots will help keep you warm on the trail. Be sure they are designed for the type of weather and terrain you expect to encounter. Wear a wind-proof hat and good pair of gloves that have a grip.

Mind the Sun

The sun may set sooner in winter, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with; wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen to exposed skin, as well as a lip balm containing SPF, to protect yourself from UV rays.

Get Smart

Wearable tech can put your mind at ease on outdoor excursions. Look for low-power GPS and full-color map functionality that can be used offline, as in the case of Casio’s PRO TREK WSD-F20 Smart Outdoor Watch, which features easy-to-read map data from Mapbox. This makes it easy to display your route and provide navigation guidance at a glance. Powered by Android Wear 2.0, it can be used with a range of apps to enhance your outdoor experience, and its design offers enhanced operability and toughness, making it an especially useful piece of outdoor gear.

Don’t Get Fooled

In hot weather, there’s almost never any question about whether you are thirsty during or following physical activity. It can be harder to gauge in cold weather. Remember, when you’re active, it’s always important to stay hydrated. Be sure your wattle bottle is built to withstand cold weather, and if you’re worried about it freezing, don’t fill the bottle to the top.

Communicate

With any excursion, it’s always good practice to share your itinerary with a loved one. Most importantly, let someone know exactly where you are going and when you plan to return.

With a few smart habits, and some high-quality gear designed to withstand the great outdoors, you can better enjoy nature this season, no matter where your adventures take you. (StatePoint)

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Improve Visibility While Trick-Or-Treating (And Other Safety Tips)

Thousands of costume-clad children will embark on treat-finding missions in neighborhoods all across the country this Halloween. Everyone wants their Halloween festivities to be fun, but it is important that trick-or-treaters and their chaperones prioritize safety as well.

The child welfare organization Safe Kids says that twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. In addition, the National Safety Council states that darting out or running into the road accounts for about 70 percent of pedestrian deaths or injuries among children between the ages of five and nine and about 47 percent of incidents for kids between the ages of 10 and 14.

Ensuring trick-or-treating youngsters are visible to motorists can make Halloween safer for everyone involved. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other safety groups suggest the following strategies for safe trick-or-treating.

· Supervise the festivities. Adults should chaperone young trick-or-treaters who are unlikely to be focused on safety in the midst of Halloween excitement.

· Use reflective tape or LED lights. Dark costumes coupled with twilight can make it difficult for motorists to see trick-or-treating youngsters. Parents can improve the chances of their kids being seen by motorists by adhering reflective tape onto kids’ costumes. Glow sticks and wearable LED lights also can illuminate trick-or-treaters.

· Carry lanterns or flashlights. Children and/or chaperones who carry flashlights and lanterns can improve their own visibility while also making themselves more visible to motorists. Lanterns and flashlights help trick-or-treaters avoid holes, cracked pavement and other obstacles. For those children who want to free up their hands for better treat gathering, lights that strap to the head are an option.

· Keep the lights on. Homeowners can do their part by keeping outdoor flood lights and accent lighting on to make paths safer for youngsters on the prowl for Halloween candy.

· Choose face makeup over masks. Children wearing masks may not spot oncoming cars or other hazards. Face makeup won’t affect kids’ visibility but will still help them look scary.

With the right combination of caution and fun, Halloween can be an enjoyable time for youngsters and adults.