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Say 'Aaah' | StayWell

Protecting the Hearth

November 09, 1998|BARBARA J. CHUCK

You most likely feel safe at home. You should feel safe at home. It's your castle, isn't it? But many people are hurt in their homes. You can do a lot, however, to minimize some risks.

How to Prevent Fires

* Never smoke in bed. Never smoke when you're sleepy.

* Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach or in kid-proof cabinets.

* Keep things that can catch fire away from stoves and heaters.

* Get the toolbox out and fix those broken or frayed electric cords.

* Install smoke detectors, especially near bedrooms.

* Get fire extinguishers. But that's not enough--you also need to know how to use them. (Yes, they come with instructions. Yes, you have to read them.) And also know their expiration dates.

How to Prevent Poisoning

* Keep medicine out of the reach of children--remember the kid-proof cabinets?

* Use medicine according to instructions.

* Don't mix cleaning supplies. Some, such as bleach and ammonia, can make poisonous gases.

* Store cleaning supplies and chemicals in tightly capped, labeled containers--and keep them out of the reach of the kids.

How to Prevent Some Injuries

* Childproof your home: Cover outlets, pad sharp edges, put childproof latches on low cabinets. But that doesn't mean you can prop your feet up, munch potato chips and watch the tube. Don't let the children roam out of your view. You can't lock up, cover or pad everything that could be a danger.

* Lock up guns. Keep them unloaded, and always, always store bullets away from guns.

* Adjust the water heater to 120 degrees or lower to prevent accidental scalding.

* Don't let children play with balloons or with any toys that have small parts that they can swallow.

One more thing--there are other sources of help: your local poison control center, the fire department or the National Safety Council, (800) 621-7619.

Source: Based on information provided by StayWell Co.

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