As we ring in the New Year, one of your resolutions for the year should be to improve safety for you and your family.
There are many things we can all do better in terms of ensuring that we are safe and that our home and valuables are protected.
This year we offer up these five actions you can take to reduce the chances of one of your family members or a house guest getting hurt, and to see your possessions are well protected. Remember too that after the New Year, robbers are on the prowl, looking for opportunities to make off with the new stuff you got for Christmas.
- Childproof your home, even if you have older kids
You can change the way you protect your kids in the home as they age.
Babies and toddlers – Install cabinet locks to prevent babies from getting into places with household chemicals and cleaners, or your liquor.
Install cordless blinds or curtains throughout your home to prevent choking.
Young children – With young children, make sure you have non–slip rugs in the bathroom.
Also, one common injury for the little ones is burns and scalds. Keep a close eye on your children whenever they are near things that can burn them like ovens and stoves, heaters, the fireplace and other appliances and products that may get hot, such as curling irons or hair straighteners.
Pre–teens – As the kids get older, subtler and unseen dangers await them, especially as most of them are using computers, smartphones or tablets to play games, socialize and surf the Internet.
You may want to install parental controls on the computer and have a talk with your kids about sharing personal information – and also about talking to strangers online.
- Keep your valuables safe
Home burglaries increase after the holidays so if you have some expensive jewelry, cash, collections or other valuables you don’t want to go missing, you should store them in a fireproof safe.
Other items you should consider storing in the safe include the deed to your home, wills, birth certificates, passports and any other important documents you don’t want to lose.
The fireproof part is important since fires, floods and other disasters can damage or destroy those documents.
- Close the garage door
Drive down most any neighborhood during the day and you are likely to see at least one house with the garage door open and nobody in sight.
By leaving your garage doors open unattended you might as well hang a sign that says “Free stuff. Come and get it.”
Also, if you are going to be away for any extended period of time, you should consider disabling your garage door.
- Start a neighborhood watch
You may have nosy neighbors who annoy you, but they could suddenly become your best friend if they catch a stranger snooping around the outside of your house.
If you are concerned about the potential for break–ins, you can start by getting acquainted with your neighbors and encourage them to check in on each other and promise not to ignore alarms that go off, watch for strangers wandering and loitering in the neighborhood and notify one another of suspicious activity.
You can even make it formal by proposing a neighborhood watch program.
- Keep emergency numbers by all phones
If your older kids are home alone, you should make it easy for them to react if there is an emergency. Make sure your child has easy access to this information:
- 911 for emergencies.
- 1–800–222–1222 for the Poison Control Center.
- The numbers for a pediatrician, police, fire department, emergency medical services and a neighbor.
- Your home address, so that caregivers and children can easily tell emergency personnel how to locate the home.