Silent Killers: Inspect These Areas in Your Home Now!
Over the past weekend three children from Troy, Ohio died from carbon monoxide poisoning at their grandmother’s home. One of the saddest thing about these passings is that they could have possibly been prevented. In hopes that this doesn’t happen to any other families, we are being even more conscious of the state of our homes and helping you to as well. While some may forget to install detectors or go years without replacing batteries, we can no longer “slip up” on the places our children rest each night. In the theme of spring cleaning, don’t just swipe out decor but swipe in necessary routines to keep your kids safe.
Carbon monoxide is often called a silent killer because of its odorless, colorless nature; no one normally knows until it is too late and a family member has already fallen ill. Carbon monoxides can leak from an array of fuel-powered devices from clothes dryers, portable heaters, furnaces to cars left running in the garage. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, headaches and drowsiness. However, children often are the first to feel its effects as their small bodies react sooner. Carbon monoxide may be one of thee most overlooked issues in our homes but it certainly isn’t the only one.
Our friends over at SafeKids.org, provide these tips on keeping safe from carbon monoxide:
- Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. As with smoke alarms, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
- Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms, and vice versa. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are available.
- Don’t use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Don’t leave a car, SUV or motorcycle engine running inside a garage.
Now, that you know what to do with the most overlooked issue it’s time to go through this utility check-list provided by KidsHealth.org! We are spending the week proofing our homes.
- Are all unused outlets covered with safety plugs?
- Are all major electrical appliances grounded?
- Have cord holders been used to keep longer cords fastened against walls?
- Have you checked for and removed other potential electrical fire hazards, such as overloaded electrical sockets and electrical wires running under carpets?
- Are televisions, computers, and stereo equipment positioned against walls?
Heating & Cooling Elements
- Are all radiators and baseboard heaters covered with childproof screens if necessary?
- Have gas fireplaces been secured with a valve cover or key?
- Do all working fireplaces have a screen and other barriers in place when in use?
- Have any chimneys been cleaned recently?
- Are all electric space heaters at least 3 feet (91 centimeters) from beds, curtains, or anything flammable?
Emergency Equipment & Numbers
- Have you placed a list of emergency phone numbers near each phone in your home?
- Are there fire extinguishers installed on every floor and in the kitchen?
- Do you have an emergency ladder for the upper floors of your home?
- Are there smoke detectors on each floor of your home?
- Have smoke detectors been installed in the hallways between all bedrooms of your home?
- Have you tested all smoke detectors within the last month?
- Have you changed the batteries in the smoke detectors within the past 6 months?
- If you cook with or heat your home with natural gas or have an attached garage, have you considered installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home?
- Does your baby’s changing table have a safety belt?
- Are all painted cribs, bassinets, and high chairs made after 1978? (Prior to this, paint was lead based.)
- Are crib slats less than 2-3/8 inches (6 centimeters) apart?
- Are the crib’s headboard and footboard free of large cut-outs?
- Is the crib mattress firm and flat? Does it fit snugly in the crib?
- Is the crib free of a drop side?
- Have any strings or ribbons been clipped off hanging mobiles and crib toys?
- Are window blind and curtain cords tied with clothespins or specially designed cord clips? Are they kept well out of reach and away from cribs?
- Are dressers secured to walls with drawers closed?
- Do the lids on toy chests or toy storage containers have a lid support to keep them from slamming shut? Are all toy chests non-locking?
- Has a window guard been placed on any window that isn’t an emergency exit?
- Are any night-lights in the room not touching any fabric like bedspreads or curtains?
- Does your child wear flame-retardant sleepwear?
- Is there a smoke alarm outside the bedroom?
- Have you removed all drawstrings from your child’s clothing?
- Are all medication bottles, loose pills, coins, scissors, and any other small or sharp objects out of reach?
- Are window blind and curtain cords tied with clothespins or specially designed cord clips?
If you own firearms:
- Are they stored in a securely locked case out of kids’ reach? All firearms should be stored unloaded and in the un-cocked position.
- Is ammunition stored in a separate place and in a securely locked container out of kids’ reach?
- Are keys kept where kids can’t find them?
Let’s get our homes in order for the ones who matter most!