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Make safety a habit all year long

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Little steps can add up to big impact. Taking a few minutes every week to think about safety is a habit worth creating.

 

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Buy battery-operated candles for your holiday decorations

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Holiday decorations are all about setting the mood for warmth and good cheer, but nothing ruins the fun faster than an emergency. According to the National Fire Protection Association, candles cause two out of every five decoration-related fires. Keep the festivities safe by using flameless battery-operated candles in decorations and around your home. (Just remember to only buy candles with child-resistant battery compartments. More info on battery safety here.)

 

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Review your Pinterest board

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Pinterest: crafts, decorations, activities, recipes, and the motivation to do them, all in one place. So what's missing? An important safety check. Cutting your kid's hot dog to look like an octopus might be cute, but it's also a choking hazard for young children. Many do-it-yourself projects don't meet standards (cribs are a good example), and recalled products are often pinned with no information about the defect.

Pinterest is a fantastic source for both creative and practical inspiration, but review your boards for safety before putting those pins into action.

(Want more info? See this blog from Nationwide Children's Hospital.)

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Install a working smoke detector in every bedroom

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It's simple: smoke detectors save lives. You probably have one installed near your stove and maybe in the hallway. But did you know you also should have a smoke detector in each bedroom or sleeping area? Having enough smoke detectors will give your family the best chance to get out of the house safely.

Click here for more information about where to place smoke detectors.

 

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Secure your perimeter: store Tiki torch fuel up and away

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A summer party isn’t complete without Tiki torches and other fun lights, but have you looked at the torch fuel? It looks just like apple juice.

How is your child going to know that one is okay to drink and the other is a deadly poison? Short answer: he won’t know, and there are plenty of stories that prove it. So after filling those torches, make sure you store the fuel up and out of sight.

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Be a cool parent: don’t leave the kids in the car

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You stop at the store for a quick trip inside, and the question pops into your head: “Should I take the kids in or just leave them out here in the car?”

As this video demonstrates, it doesn’t take long for your car to heat up like an oven, even on colder or cloudy days. And kids are more sensitive to heat because their skin is thinner than ours, so they start getting sick from the heat much faster than adults.

Yes, it will take some extra time, but be a cool parent and take the kids with you, even if it’s just a quick trip inside.

 

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Celebrate July 4 with glow sticks instead of backyard fireworks

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There is no safe way to use backyard fireworks. Even sparklers, considered “safe” by some people, burn as hot as 2000 degrees. That’s a temperature that can melt metal and set clothes on fire. About 25 percent of the people injured by backyard fireworks every year are bystanders. A child only has to watch an adult using fireworks to be hurt.

 

What to do? Well, even young children can have fun with glow sticks. They’re available at most toy and party supply stores, and they are pretty inexpensive. Best of all, they can look like sparklers without burning like sparklers.      

 

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Honor their lives and protect yours

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It’s Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer. Community pools open, families fire up their grills. If this is your family’s unofficial start of summer too, take a few minutes to review these tips on safe grilling, safe summer travel, and safe swimming. 

Memorial Day exists, though, to honor those members of the military who have died while serving the United States. You can try a number of safe activities with your children to teach them about why the day is important.

 

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Complete a backyard safety checklist

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As you and your family start spending more time outside of the house, make sure outside is as safe as possible with this sheet. Are your garbage cans securely covered? Do your light bulbs outdoors need changing?


Your children can – and probably should – help out with some of the items on the list. They may be able to tell you what parts of their swing sets need to be touched up, and you can tell them to clear their toys out of the walkways.

 

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Organize a safe family bike ride

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When was the last time you checked that your family’s bicycle helmets fit, or that all the bike tires were inflated to the right pressure? Children like to outgrow things during the winter, and air is notorious for escaping from tires. Plan a fun ride, and ask your children to help make sure everything still checks out before you go. Are the brakes still braking? Is the seat high enough? Use this quick guide to properly fit a helmet, and always follow manufacturers’ guidelines on correct tire pressure.

 

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Look cool mowing – get some fashionable safety glasses

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This time of year, you and your older children may be going to war with your yard. Do you have the right armor? Hundreds of children have eye and face injuries every year while mowing. Experts say that anyone using a lawn mower, child or adult, needs to wear polycarbonate protective glasses. They’re don’t all look like the chunky goggles from shop class – some look pretty sleek. Your children may even want to wear them.

If your children are helping with mowing, remember that a child needs to be at least 12 years old before operating any kind of mower, and must be 16 years old before using a riding mower. Along with eye protection, anyone mowing needs to wear hearing protection and sturdy shoes instead of sandals or flip-flops.

 

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Assign your child to be “safety monitor” in your car

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If you have a child in your car, it’s easy to be distracted. Why not let your child help you stay focused instead? In the same way that school teachers assign students jobs around the classroom, assign your child to help keep you safe. Your child can remind you of the speed limit, or keep other children from being too loud, or even check to see if you have important text messages.

As a bonus, while your child is helping you, you’re also able to talk about the rules of driving. Because one day, your safety monitor will be a driver too.

 

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