A checklist for a safe new year

Jan. 1 has passed–did you ever make any New Year’s resolutions? Well, how about practising safety for starters! And I bet if you look hard enough, you will find hazards inside and outside your home.
Most home hazards can be prevented by inspection and correction. Members of every household should conduct home hazard checks periodically.
Here’s a guideline and sample of safety habits to practise and some home hazards to look for. I am sure you can add to the list (everything possible is not included) but these are some of the typical safety habits to practice and home hazards to look for:
•Emergency phone numbers
–are posted near the telephone
•Motor vehicle safety
–everyone wears a seat belt when travelling; and
–car seats are installed in the back seat of the vehicle and tether straps are installed to prevent movement of the seat
•Fire/burn prevention
–working smoke alarms are installed and maintained on every level of the home and cottage, outside sleeping areas, and inside the bedrooms;
–smoke alarms are tested weekly by pushing the alarm test button;
–smoke alarm batteries are changed in the spring and fall or when needed;
–smoke alarms are gently vacuumed every six months;
–a home escape plan is in place, with two ways out of each room and a meeting place outside;
–matches and lighters are stored out of reach and out of sight of children;
–there is a barrier around fireplaces and woodstoves;
–you cook on the back burner and turn pot handles in so pots can’t be pulled or knocked off the stove;
–combustibles are at least three feet from the stove and heating equipment at all times;
–water temperature of the water heater is set no higher than 49°C (120°C);
–electrical appliances like the coffee maker are unplugged after use;
–clothes irons and curling irons are unplugged after use;
–candles are extinguished and potpourri pots are unplugged before going to bed, work/school, outside, etc.
–stoves, ovens, and crockpots are shut off before going to bed, work/school, or out;
–a fire extinguisher is present in the home and you know how to use it;
–gasoline is never stored in the home or even in an attached garage; and
–electrical outlets are covered by protective covers if children are present.
•Choking, suffocation, and strangulation prevention
–your baby crib is built after 1986, which means the bars are well spaced to prevent strangulation;
–blind and drapery cords are cut and secured with cord wind-up, and are out of reach of children;
–non-food items such as coins, balloons, marbles, and buttons are kept away from young children;
–clothing drawstrings, ribbons, necklaces, neckties, and rope are kept away from young children;
–children remain seated when chewing food;
–plastic bags are kept away from young children; and
–that innocent container of baby powder is out of sight and reach of young children.
•Poisoning prevention
–medicines and vitamins are out of sight and reach of young children (preferably locked away); and
–household cleaners are locked away.
•Fall prevention
–heavy items, like a television, bookcase, tool chest, etc., are secured to prevent it from falling;
–non-skid mats or strips are in the bathtub;
–stairs are kept clear of toys and other items that could cause someone to trip; and
–when using a ladder, it is secured and someone holding it at the base.
•Firearms injury prevention
–all firearms (guns) are unloaded and locked away from the sight and reach of children; and
–bullets are stored in a separate, locked place.
•Water safety
–when swimming in a pool, children always swim with a buddy and are always supervised by an adult;
–young children are never left alone in the bathtub;
–buckets of water are disposed of immediately after use;
–when ice fishing, young children are always supervised and you realize a small child can fall through an eight-10 inch hole.
Fact: If you never need what you learn about personal safety, you have lost nothing. If you never learn what you need, you may lose everything . . . your family and your life!

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