Showing posts with label home safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home safety. Show all posts

Monday, August 12, 2013

Keep Pets Safe This Summer

Keeping pets safe during the hot summer months includes limiting time in vehicles as well as homes without air conditioning to prevent heat stress. But, did you know, there are many more hazards that threaten pets’ safety during the warmer months?

Cat outside

Keep these safety tips handy, and enjoy a happy, safe summer with your pets.

  • Hot concrete can burn: it’s advisable to take walks with pets during early morning hours or later in the evening when pavement isn't a risk to pets’ delicate pads.
  • Bodies of water can be dangerous: while swimming can be a great summer activity for pets, never leave pets unattended near a swimming pool, pond, lake or river. Even with pets that are typically great swimmers, accidents can occur very quickly and unexpectedly.
  • Toxic plants can cause harm: that beautiful flower that blooms in the summer may cause stomach upset, or worse, if Fido gets into it. Certain types of mushrooms may be toxic, even causing liver damage in some instances. Veterinarians warn that many common plants are surprisingly harmful to pets. For a complete list of hazardous plants, visit
  • More than just an annoying bite: pests such as heartworms, ticks and fleas are much more prevalent in the warmer months. Speak with your vet regarding the best method for preventing these creatures from infesting pets. In areas such as the Northeast where cicadas are so prevalent, a potential bite may not be of concern. But, if pets ingest one, it can cause digestive upset.
  • Beware of the sun: pets can suffer sunburn and even skin cancer from sun exposure just like their human companions. Those with white hair, short cuts or naturally thin hair are particularly susceptible.
  • Provide shade for pets to help prevent heat stress and keep pets safe from sun exposure.
  • Use pet-safe sunscreen for dogs or horses; sunscreen for cats is still a work in progress, according to Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM. Visit for additional information.
  • Sunglasses/goggles are available at pet shops and supply stores to protect precious eyes from sun damage.

Dog outside

Additional tips for safety at home:

  • Remember that fire pits and grills can be dangerous to pets. Flames can burn a curious pet and ashes can cause illness if ingested.
  • Although they’re an exciting part of the summer season, fireworks can cause injuries if pets get too close to them. In addition, just the noise from fireworks can scare pets, causing them to run away. In fact, more pets run away and are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year, according to dog expert Cesar Millan.
  • Thunderstorms can cause the same reaction as fireworks. Keep an eye on pets during these noisy summer occurrences.

Additional information regarding summer pet safety can be obtained by visiting the American Veterinary Medicine Association’s site at

Summer activities can be a great way for you and your family to bond with furry friends. With this safety checklist, you can ensure safety at home for you and your pets this summer.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

Monday, June 17, 2013

Home Dangers!–Five Simple Steps to Make Your Home Safer

Did you know that 47 percent of all injuries occur at home?  It’s National Home Safety Month: the perfect time to identify and eliminate risks around your home.  These five home safety steps take little or no money/time yet can save the life or limb of your family members and house guests. 

House on fire

1.  Be prepared for a fire emergency

More than 3,500 Americans die annually in fires, many at home.  Does your family know what to do in the event of a fire? Simple steps can save lives:
  • Have fire drills with your family, practicing various evacuation routes.
  • Plan a specific meeting location away from the house, so that you can all immediately know when and if everyone has made it out of the home. 
  • Check your home for any stuck windows or doors that might prevent exit during a fire and get them fixed.
  • For upstairs bedrooms, consider investing in emergency ladders that can be kept under beds when a hallway fire forces a window exit.  Practice using the ladders, but do so from a first floor window for safety; family members will still “get the hang of it” before the emergency that way.
  • If your home windows have security bars that could not only prevent burglaries but also prevent family members from escaping a fire, consider upgrading them with the type that have a quick-release device for emergency exiting.  Read more on this at
Finally, check with your local fire station; many of them hold informational or training events designed to help you survive a fire emergency.

2.  Be ready to practice first aid

Since nearly half of all injuries happen at home, it only makes sense to make sure that you and your family are ready to take immediate action in the event of injury, poisoning, heart attack, or other life-threatening circumstances that can occur at home. Being prepared to perform first aid involves both education and supplies.  Make sure you and your family:
  • Have up-to-date first aid kits in your home – ideally more than one.
  • Know how to do first aid, which can be as simple as signing up your family for a local first aid class.
  • Write down the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) and keep it in a safe place – perhaps in your medicine cabinets.
  • Know where the nearest hospital is and have your doctor’s phone number.
First aid kit

3.  Take steps to protect your children from lead poisoning

Lead poisoning is a serious home safety risk, especially to pregnant women and to children under age six. Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing lead.  According to, most lead poisoning comes from paint in homes built before 1978, so particularly pay heed to these risk-reduction steps if your home is more than 25 years old.

A primary source of lead in homes: ordinary house paint used before 1978. As old paint cracks or chips, it generates toxic lead dust, capable of causing learning and behavior problems. Lead can also be found in the ground around your house, your drinking water (from lead pipes), and from older toys and furniture.
To protect your family when you live in an older home, keep away from chipping or peeling lead paint, have your home tested for lead paint, ask your doctor to test your child for lead, wash hands and toys often, and use a wet paper towel or mop when dusting. 

To learn more about preventing lead poisoning, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.  And when remodeling or repairing your house, first check out these lead-safe work practices from the EPA.

4.  Reduce risks of home injuries from falls

Federal statistics indicate that half of all falls happen at home. Fortunately, reducing risks of injuries from falls in your home is often easy and affordable. For example, you can reduce slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injury risks with such simple steps as removing wires or cords that cross pathways, keeping loose objects like shoes, magazines, or blankets off the floor, and removing throw rugs from your house, (or at least using a nonslip backing or double-sided tape between the rug and floor).   For a whole host of other simple and potentially life-saving tips, use this home fall risk prevention checklist from the CDC.

5.  Protect your family from asbestos risks

Asbestos, a building material commonly used in home construction before 1980, is now known to cause mesothelioma, a slow-developing and deadly form of cancer.  Since 80 percent of homes built before 1980 contain asbestos, it could be lying dormant in the walls, floors, or ceilings of your house right now, its dust ready to do deadly damage when stirred up by home maintenance or remodeling. 

Asbestos danger tape

Before you perform any remodeling or have any remodeling work done in your house, such as new roofing installation, insulation replacement, or re-tiling work, reviewed these potentially life-saving  remodeling safety  tips from

Get started today, during National Home Safety Month

As you can see, these five safety steps are all easy, and could save lives.  Get started today, and take a new step every couple of days – by the end of National Home Safety Month, you’ll have a much safer home.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer