Quick Guide to Home Safety Tools

There are a few noteworthy tools that significantly increase home safety. The following is an introduction to the most useful and necessary home safety tools.

  • Smoke alarm—A combination of a smoke detector with an audible alarm to alert people that there is a danger of fire. Smoke detectors are quite possibly one of the most important of the home safety tools. They use a variety of methods to detect the presence of smoke, signaling a likelihood of fire. Some companies are developing smoke detectors that use the recorded voice of a parent for the alert instead of an alarm. Studies have shown that a high percentage of young children sleep through even the most piercing smoke alarms.

  • Carbon monoxide alarms—These are safety devices to warn homeowners of potentially hazardous and life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide in their home. Burning any fuel and/or operating a portable generator, charcoal grill, gas water heater, or gas range or oven can create hazardous carbon monoxide levels. Levels can become life-threatening when an appliance is malfunctioning or improperly vented.

  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)—The GFCI is a device that limits the risk of severe or fatal electric shock by interrupting the flow of the electric current. GFCIs should be used in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, garages, and outdoors. They should also be used with power garden tools and electric tools such as drills and sanders.

  • Electrical outlet safety covers and plates—These products restrict access to electrical outlets, thus reducing the risk of electrocution. They should be installed firmly so that a child cannot remove them and be large enough not to pose a choking hazard. Outlet covers are an essential part of home safety and childproofing.

  • Safety cord stops—these devices prevent small children from potentially being strangled by the pull cords and inner cords on window blinds.

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  • Window guards—Since window screens alone cannot prevent an accident, window guards are designed to protect a child from falling, while still allowing residents to escape through the window in case of fire.

  • Door knob covers and door locks—These devices help prevent children from entering areas of their home property that are dangerous, while allowing adults to quickly open the door in an emergency.

  • Antiscald devices—These regulators for faucets and showerheads, when combined with setting the water heater to a maximum of 120º F, (48.8° C) help reduce the chance of children being scalded by hot water.

  • Safety latches and locks—These devices control access to cabinets and drawers to keep children away from medicine, knives, and other dangerous objects and substances.

  • Automatic garage door auto-reverse—Garage doors tend to be something homeowners overlook in regards to home safety. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a safety alert advising homeowners owning automatic garage door openers that do not have an automatic reverse to repair or replace them. Since January 1, 1993, garage door openers manufactured in or imported into the US are required to be outfitted with an auto-reverse feature to protect against entrapment.

  • Small parts tester—This is a device used to assess the risk of a small object posing a choking hazard for a child 3 or younger. A low-tech method is to use an empty toilet roll: if a toy or small object can fit inside, it is a potential choking hazard.

  • Safety gates—Safety gates are devices to block a young child’s access to dangerous areas, such as staircases, the outdoors, etc.

  • Portable Bed railings—are devices to prevent children from falling out of bed.

  • Baby monitors—A baby monitor transmits signals in one direction: from the location where the baby is, to the location of a responsible adult. This allows an adult to have information about a baby while the baby is out of sight.

  • Decals for glass doors—Vinyl door decals ensure that people recognize that there is a sheet of glass present and helps avoid possible accidents. These decals are weather-resistant and will not be damaged by cleaning the glass.

  • Written by Mary Elizabeth

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