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Home Safety - Newsletter

HOME SAFETY COUNCIL® UNVEILS NEW NATIONAL RESEARCH AND LAUNCHES INTERACTIVE WEB SITE FOR HOME SAFETY MONTH IN JUNE

Annual Hands on Home Safety Campaign Encourages Families to Take Action and Prevent the Leading Causes of Home Injury

To kick-off Home Safety Month in June, the national nonprofit Home Safety Council is launching an interactive online safety destination – www.MySafeHome.org – and debuting new research findings that reveal what actions, if any, U.S. adults have taken to prevent the leading causes of home injury.

This year, the Home Safety Council's annual Hands on Home Safety campaign calls on families to take a room-by-room approach to making their homes safer and protecting against the leading causes of home injury – falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking/suffocation and drowning. By encouraging families to tackle safety dangers room-by-room and providing the simple steps they can follow, the Home Safety Council aims to curb the nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits that result from home injuries on average each year.

The Home Safety Council's new research reveals that U.S. adults rank the kitchen, bathroom and stairway/hallway as the most dangerous rooms of the home. Although the majority of the adults surveyed recognize the presence of injury risks in these areas, nearly half (45 percent) admit they have not taken action to make any of the rooms in their home safer.

"Our new research shows that while most adults are aware of the common dangers found throughout the home, they continue to show a disturbing disregard for safety," said Meri-K Appy, Home Safety Council president. "To help people take action and make the critical improvements needed to prevent home injuries, we are encouraging families to take a room-by-room approach. Start with simple and inexpensive changes in each area of your home, inside and out, and you'll make a real difference in your family's safety."

MySafeHome.org - Virtual Home Opens its Doors to Teach Safety The Home Safety Council's new online destination, MySafeHome.org, is an innovative and interactive Web site that lets users explore a virtual home so they can understand where dangers lurk in their own homes. Using digital motion graphics animation in a navigable, virtual home and yard, MySafeHome.org illustrates the major risk areas found throughout the home and presents the safety devices and preparedness plans needed to make every home safe.

Visit www.MySafeHome.org today to customize a safety plan for your own home.

A Safer Home: Room-by-Room Roadmap

Kitchen Safety:

With its piping hot stoves, razor-sharp knives and toxic household cleaners, it's no wonder respondents overwhelmingly named the kitchen when asked which room in the home they consider the most dangerous. In fact, 20 percent of respondents – one in five – have suffered a cooking-related burn in the past year. Yet, of those who consider the kitchen the most dangerous room of the home, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) have not taken any steps to make their kitchen safer.

The Home Safety Council offers the following safety advice to prevent injuries in the kitchen:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the range, especially when frying food.
  • To reduce the risk of accidental poisonings, keep all dangerous products away from food and drinks and lock them up after use. Be especially aware of products with fruit shown on the labels, which could be confused as being edible.
  • Protect little ones from burns by using tape to mark a three-foot safety margin around the stove. Keep children and pets away from the range and keep a close eye on them at all times. Use back burners with pot handles turned in.

Bathroom Safety:

Considered the second most dangerous room of the home by U.S. adults, according to the survey, the bathroom harbors a distinctive set of home dangers. The combination of slippery surfaces, water, medications and electrical appliances make safety precautions in and around the bathroom essential for every family member.

The Home Safety Council advises families to follow these steps to avoid injuries in the bathroom:

  • Pay close attention and stay within an arm's length of children in and around water. This includes bathtubs, toilets, pools and spas – even buckets of water.
  • To reduce the risk of falls, use grab bars and a non-slip mat or strips in baths and showers.
  • To prevent hot water scald burns, keep your water heater set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Install tub spouts and shower heads with anti-scald features.

Bedroom Safety:

Sixty percent of respondents have taken important steps to improve the safety of their bedrooms and protect against home injuries while sleeping. However, most respondents have not taken all the steps needed to ensure a safe night's sleep. While the majority of fatal home fires happen at night, only 13 percent of the survey respondents have a family fire escape plan in place to ensure all family members would be able to wake up and get to safety quickly if a fire were to occur at night.

The Home Safety Council encourages families to take the following safety actions in the bedroom:

  • Have working smoke alarms on each floor of the home and hold family fire drills. If you build a new home, have a fire sprinkler system installed.
  • To protect children from strangulation, clip the loops in window cords and place them up high where children can't get them. Or, replace them with new "cordless" blinds.
  • Move furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing on furniture and falling out of windows. Install window guards or window stops on upper floors.

Garage Safety:

Garages aren't just for cars anymore. Most families also use them as warehouses for anything they can't fit in their home. While garages are convenient for storage, the majority of adults take major safety risks by failing to follow simple practices needed to prevent injuries in the garage.

To make your garage a safer place, the Home Safety Council recommends the following steps:

  • Gasoline, anti-freeze, pesticides and fertilizer are poison. Make sure these items have child-resistant caps in place, are clearly labeled and are stored in a locked cabinet out of sight and reach of children.
  • To prevent falls, keep floors and steps clear of clutter and immediately clean up grease and other spills.
  • To prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, never run a barbecue grill, car or generator in the garage or any other room of your home.

Backyard Safety:

While most people are looking forward to outdoor summer activities, only half of adults with a backyard say they make safety a priority here.

The Home Safety Council offers the following critical safety tips to help families stay safe in the backyard:

  • To prevent drowning, make sure your children always swim with a grownup. No child or adult should swim alone.
  • Use a sturdy ladder when climbing and place it on level ground to lessen the risk of outdoor falls.
  • Prevent playground injuries by covering areas under and at least six feet around play equipment with 12 inches of soft materials, such as rubber mulch or hardwood chips.

Stairway Safety:

Everyone falls down, but national home injury statistics show that falls are a more serious public health problem than many realize. Falls are the leading cause of home injury, yet new research reveals that only 25 percent of adults have taken safety actions to prevent falls at home.

Follow the Home Safety Council's safe steps to reduce falls in your home:

  • Install bright lights and on/off switches at the tops and bottoms of each stairwell and over porches and entryways.
  • In homes with young children, use sturdy safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairways.
  • Have handrails on both sides of stairs and steps and use them. Always keep the stairs and hallways clear.

For more information on how to keep your family safe in and around the home, please visit www.homesafetycouncil.org.

Visit www.MySafeHome.org to experience an online home safety tour and build a customizable safety plan for your own home.

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