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Safety in the Household

Household Products Safety Information and Products
Rating Household Products for Safety

Did you ever wonder how household products are rated for their effects on the environment and for your safety?
There are 4 ratings:

1. Acute Toxicity- This can cause skin and eye irritations and could be harmful or fatal if ingested or breathed in.

2. Chronic Health Effects- The products could cause birth defects, cancer, kidney and liver damage and other health problems.

3. Physical and Chemical Hazards- These household products could be flammable under the right conditions.
They could also react with other products, causing chemical reactions.

4. Environmental Effects- If these products leach into the outdoors and water they could be harmful
and toxic to animals in the wild, including birds and fish. (chemical pollution)

You need to take into consideration a few things.

1. The age and health of the product user.

2. The misuse of the product, or if the product has spilled.

3. Is the product being used in a well ventilated area?

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Make Your Home Safer

(Family Features) - Did you know that preventable injuries rank among the top 10 causes of death for people of all ages? While it's not something that many people often think about, the American Public Health Association (APHA) helps to bring injury and violence prevention messages through this year's National Public Health Week (NPHW) and warns that everyone is at some risk of injury, even at home.

Home Injury Facts

  • Four out of five U.S. fire deaths in 2008 occurred in the home.

  • Every day in the United States, about 82 people die as a result of unintentional poisoning, and another 2,000 are treated in emergency departments.

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury death among those aged 65 and older. More than one-third of U.S. adults 65 years of age and older fall each year.

  • Falls are the leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the United States. Falls cause half of the TBIs among children aged 0 to 14 years and 61 percent of TBIs among adults aged 65 years and older.

A survey by the Home Safety Council (HSC) showed that while nearly 60 percent of American parents feel there are steps they could take to reduce the risk of a home-related injury, a third of them just don't know what actions to take. This checklist from APHA's NPHW will help you make your home safer today.

General Safety Tips

  • Assess your home for potential hazards such as poor lighting and uneven surfaces to prevent falls.

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

  • Establish a plan for evacuating from your home in the event of a fire.

  • Make sure all electrical outlets are covered and inaccessible to children.

  • Program emergency numbers, such as the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222), into your phone to call in the event of a poisoning emergency. Also, make sure they are posted near all land line phones.

  • Check your hot water heater to make sure the thermostat is set to 120°F or lower to avoid burns. According to the HSC, nearly 4,000 home injuries occur annually due to scalding. It only takes one second for a child under the age of five to get third-degree burns from water that is 140°F or hotter.

  • Install four-sided isolation fencing at least five feet high and equipped with self-latching gates to prevent drownings in home swimming pools.

In the Kitchen

  • Supervise young children whenever they're near cooking surfaces and never leave food unattended on the stove. Keep things that can catch fire, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags at least three feet away from the cook top.

  • While cooking, make sure pot handles are turned inward to prevent the hot pan from being pulled or knocked down.

In the Bathroom

  • Store cleaning supplies and medicines in locked cabinets out of the reach of children.

  • Make sure child safety caps are on all medications and cleaning products.

  • Be cautious of cleaners or medicines with fruit shown on the labels - small children may think they are okay to drink.

Making just one positive change a day can help prevent injuries and help your family start living a safer life. For more information about injury prevention, visit

American Public Health Association

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Fire Escape Planning Starts with Having a Plan

Homes with two or more stories should be equipped with a fire escape ladder

(Family Features) - In 2008, fire departments responded to 403,000 home fires in the United States, yet, a recent survey by the Home Safety Council (HSC) reveals that less than half (37 percent) of respondents have taken any actions to prevent home fires. In response, HSC and Werner Ladder are partnering to encourage families to prepare for a home fire by developing an emergency escape plan and to make sure second- and third- story exits are equipped with fire escape ladders. Families may consider an innovative built-in ladder as an option.

"If your primary exit is blocked by smoke, heat or flames, you'll need to use a second way out, possibly a window" said Chris Filardi, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Werner Ladder. "Making sure everyone knows the exit options and how to use a built-in fire escape ladder if necessary could, ultimately, save a life in an emergency."

There are more than 70 million two-to-three-story homes in the United States, according to a 2007 U.S. Census Bureau American Housing Survey, yet surprisingly, research by HSC reveals that only six percent of U.S. homes own a fire escape ladder.

"Many families don't realize that a fire can go from first spark to deadly levels in as few as three minutes, leaving families little time to escape," said Home Safety Council President Meri-K Appy. "In situations when getting out of the home quickly is critical to survival, a fire escape ladder may be one of the most important home improvement steps a caregiver can take."

The HSC and Werner Ladder are urging families to work together to develop a fire escape plan. They can start by drawing a floor plan of their home, including all rooms, windows, doors, stairways, fire escapes and smoke alarms, and indentifying two ways out of every room. In some cases a window may be the only way to escape a fire. In this situation, families should have a fire escape ladder that is easy to use and is long enough to reach the ground.

Once the plan is in place, it is just as important that families practice fire drills at least twice a year. As part of their fire drill exercises, families should remember to practice deploying the fire escape ladder to the ground. To practice, extend the escape ladder and climb up a few rungs from the bottom. This will give each family member a sense of what it feels like to be on the ladder while preventing an unnecessary fall. Only use the ladder for an exit in an actual emergency.

If you have infants or children too young to escape independently, keep a front facing baby carrier near the window so an adult can escape with the baby and have both hands free to hold the ladder. 

To learn more about developing a fire escape plan and choosing a fire escape ladder for a home, visit the Home Safety Council at to Werner Ladder Feature Page and Werner Ladder at By starting to practice fire safety now, families can ensure they will be prepared throughout the year to exit their home safely in the event of a fire.

Home Safety Council


Home Spa Safety

(Family Features) - Spas add extra comfort to homes, providing families with medical benefits and the opportunity to escape the outside hustle-and-bustle and relax in the soothing warm water. But, with home spas come many risks that can lead to serious injury or even death. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), since 1990, spas and hot tubs have accounted for more than 800 deaths nationwide. To raise awareness of these risks, the Home Safety Council (HSC) and Viking Spas are urging families to follow spa safety practices to avoid common injuries including drowning, hair entanglement, body entrapment, or illness or scald burns due to high water temperature.
Drowning is a leading cause of injury and death in spas, yet according to a HSC survey, only six percent of respondents have taken any actions to prevent drowning at home. Home spa safety begins with a family conversation, setting rules for the spa - both while it is in use and when it is not. To prevent drowning, hair entanglements and body part entrapments, install anti-entrapment drain covers, tie-up long hair and avoid getting too close to the drain.

"People of all ages are vulnerable to injuries around the spa, especially from drowning and falls," said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. "It is critical that all spa users are aware of the safety risks of using a spa including hair entanglement and body entrapment.  Taking the necessary steps to avoid these dangers, like making a rule to never use the spa alone, will help keep safety top of mind."

An anti-entrapment drain cover helps protect against hair entanglement and body part entrapments. Prevent entrapment by making sure spa drains have a dome-shaped outlet and two outlets for each pump, which will help reduce suction if one drain is blocked. Make sure all spa users know where the emergency cut off switch is. Each year, spa owners should hire a professional to make sure their spa is in safe working condition.

"In addition to discussing spa safety, families should equip their spa with protective devices that will help protect against common spa injuries," said Tom Kneeshaw, director of sales and marketing for Viking Spas. "New on the market are slip-resistant surfaces, an important innovation in spa safety since slips and falls account for 50 percent of spa injuries, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. And all spas should have a locking safety cover to make sure young children can not access the spa when adults are not looking."

When the spa is not in use, secure it with a protective barrier such as a locking safety cover and self-latching gate for an extra layer of protection. The locking safety cover and gate will ensure that young children do not enter the spa without adult supervision.

To learn more about spa safety, visit the Home Safety Council at and Viking Spas at By following these safety tips you can better protect your family from common home spa injuries throughout the year.

Home Safety Council

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