Happy summer! Have fun swimming, hiking, biking, boating, grilling, and enjoying the great outdoors this summery season -- but don't forget the essentials of outdoor summer safety. Remember too that indoor safety is just as important for everyone, especially for kids. Here are 7 tips to help you recognize and deal with warm weather dangers inside your home.
- Mosquitos are not just nuisances. They also spread dangerous illnesses, such as dengue fever and West Nile virus … and human beings taste just as good to them in the house as out on the deck. Stop skeeters from breeding; drain any sources of standing water in and around your home. Put up window screens so you can safely enjoy sweet summer breezes and minimize air conditioning use. Avoid bug zappers, which tend to kill beneficial insects more than mosquitos. Instead, use herb extracts or essential oils -- citronella, patchouli, clove, basil, and peppermint are said to be especially effective.
- When children are on vacation from school or daycare, they usually tend to spend more time playing unsupervised in their bedrooms. Make sure that you eliminate potential dangers, for instance, by installing childproof window locks, as well as cords for blinds or windows that are too short to pose a strangulation risk.
- Another hazard of vacation time is the clutter that seems to be an inevitable byproduct of kids having fun. There's no need to clean compulsively, but do be aware of the trippy, slippery danger of fallen toys or spilled water underfoot. Scattered playthings at the top of a staircase should be put away before they lead to a particularly nasty fall.
- Personal care products, household cleaning supplies, and medication for pain relief are the leading causes of poisoning among young children. Install high quality child safety locks for kitchen and bathroom cupboards. Even better, learn which of these items are surprisingly toxic (for instance, preparations that contain alcohol, such as commercial perfume or mouthwash) and store them overhead, out of children's reach. Best of all, try to avoid bringing these products into your home if possible, for the health of all family members.
- Gas or charcoal grills and barbecues should never be used inside the home, or even close by on a porch or in the garage. These and other fuel burning appliances give off deadly carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas. Buy and use carbon monoxide detectors; install them on each level of your home, specifically outside each sleeping area. While you're at it, invest in a few smoke alarms too.
- In summer, you are likely to be opening your garage more frequently -- to take the car out for mini excursions to the park or beach, to work on craft projects, or to access sports equipment and bicycles. Inspect your garage door sensors and moving parts to make sure they are operating efficiently and get them repaired if needed. Keep garage doors fully open or closed. Make sure that the garage entry door to your home is always locked when not in use -- this keeps children securely inside the home and would-be intruders out.
- At home or on the go, make sure you drink plenty of water so that you'll prevent dehydration. If your drinking water comes from a private well, test it regularly for contaminants. Water from both private and public supplies should also be routinely checked for lead. If your home's water contains more than 15 parts lead per billion, do not use hot or warm water from the faucet, or water that has been standing for several hours for the purpose of drinking or cooking. In such a case, the Center for Disease Control advises consuming water only after the tap has been allowed to run for several minutes. (Use the runoff for flushing your toilet or similar purposes.) Better yet, treat your water with a filtration system specifically designed to eliminate lead.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.