Avoid Hazards & Fires in your California Home
From overly hot faucets to tipped-over coffee cups, burns are a potential hazard in every home. In fact, burns (especially scalds from hot water and liquids) are some of the most common childhood accidents. Babies and young children are especially at risk — they're curious, small, and have sensitive skin that needs extra protection.
Here are some important ways to protect kids from burns — as well as electrical shocks and household fires — in your home.
Make a fire escape plan with two ways out of the house, plus a designated meeting place once out of the house. Practice the fire escape plan regularly.
- Keep an emergency ladder on upper floors of your home in the event of a fire. Keep the ladder in or near the room of an adult or older child capable of using it.
- Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and remember to change the batteries twice a year.
- Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older.
- Install a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it.
- Keep matches, lighters, chemicals, and lit candles out of kids' reach.
- Don't smoke inside, especially when you're tired, taking medication that can cause you to be drowsy, or in bed.
Electrical Equipment and Appliances
- Put child-safety covers on all electrical outlets.
- Get rid of equipment and appliances with old or frayed cords and extension cords that look damaged.
- Bind excess cord from lamps or other electrical equipment with a twist-tie to prevent injury from chewing on cords. You also can purchase a holder or spool specially designed to hide extra cord.
- Position television and stereo equipment against walls so small hands don't have access to the back surfaces or cords. It's best to secure TVs by attaching them to the wall.
- Make sure all wires to seasonal lighting, such as holiday tree lights, are properly insulated (for example, make sure they don't have exposed or broken wiring). Bind any excess cord and unplug lights when they're not in use.
- Check electronic toys often for signs of wear and tear; any object that sparks, feels hot, or smells unusual must be repaired or thrown away immediately. Replace batteries in electronic toys regularly and look for any signs of corrosion in the toys.
- Clean the clothes dryer vent of lint after each use.
- Don't run electrical wires under rugs or carpet.
- Don't overload electrical sockets.
- Keep any decorative items away from windows, doors, and ceilings. Make sure anything you have near the ceiling is not blocking any sprinklers you may have installed.
- Screen fireplaces and wood-burning stoves and always keep kids 3 feet away from them. Radiators and electric baseboard heaters also might need to be screened.
- Teach kids never to put anything into the fireplace when it is lit. Also make sure they know the doors to the fireplace can be very hot and cause a burn.
- Make sure to have all chimneys inspected and cleaned regularly