The Risks of Home Trampolines
Like every Christmas, your children probably have a number of requests from you and Santa. Some of these will be more realistic than others, but know too that some of their requests—though perfectly realistic—may also be fairly dangerous. One example you may be presented with is the home trampoline. While these have become extremely popular over the years, they pose a number of risks you should know about. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out against them, strongly discouraging trampolines for home use.
The most common injury sustained by jumping on a home trampoline is a sprained ankle. Though those are certainly no fun to sustain, they’re not the type of injury most of us take seriously.
However, around 30% of those injured on trampolines suffer from broken bones. These are definitely more serious than a simple sprain. Furthermore, somewhere between 10% and 17% of trampoline-related injuries involve the head or neck. Obviously, these types of injuries are far from insignificant and could easily cause permanent problems.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are three main causes for accidents with home trampolines. These are:
Perhaps you aren’t convinced. Many people grew up with a trampoline and lived to tell about it. Santa may have already guaranteed a trampoline to your little one too. If you’re set on providing one for your family, at least be smart in its use.
For one thing, never allow more than one jumper on at the same time. Make sure your children know that flips are not allowed either, as these are one of the main causes of cervical spine injuries where trampolines are involved.
If possible, put your trampoline at ground level, to prevent injuries caused by falling off. Make sure it’s outfitted in proper padding too and replace it as necessary. At any time, if you find that your trampoline is lacking in quality, get rid of it.
Check to see what your insurance covers regarding your trampoline and always provide supervision when your children are using it.
To put it simply, treat your trampoline the same way you would a swimming pool. It can potentially be much more dangerous, which is why I recommend against their use, but if you insist on having one, recognize that it’s not just another toy.
Hazardous Toys Every Parent Should Know About
As a parent, your work is never done. Each and every day, you need to keep a weathered eye open to ensure your children are safe. On the one hand, there are more products than ever before to help make this job easier. Everything from baby monitors to child gates are designed to aid you in being the best parent possible. However, on the other hand, there are also more and more products that can enter your child’s life and pose serious threats. Unfortunately, this sometimes means the toys you provide them.
Let’s look at three categories of toys that are currently on the market, but should not end up in your child’s hands. We’ve split these 24 toys into three types:
Your children should go nowhere near these five toys because of the toxic chemicals they contain, which could put your little ones’ lives in danger. The five toys are:
Due to how small they are, these toys could be easily ingested by your children. Obviously, you never want your child to swallow anything that isn’t food, which is why these three items are on our list of hazardous toys:
Toys That Pose Choking Hazards
We have identified 16 toys that are potential choking hazards. This is an especially scary threat because of how easily choking can lead to death: a parent’s worst nightmare. As such, we can’t strongly recommend enough against these toys:
Giving your youngster a toy is meant to help them enjoy their childhood even more. However, if you give them any of the 24 toys identified above, they could all too easily become seriously ill or even worse.
Five Safety Tips for the Whole Family This Christmas
With the Christmas season now in full swing, most people are looking forward to quality time with the family and all that comes with it. There are presents under the tree and stockings above the fireplace, of course, but most of us also have a number of other fun traditions to enjoy as well. However, it’s important that you keep in mind that the Christmas season brings with it a number of potential safety issues too. Instead of letting these worry you, just follow the five tips below and you’ll instead be guaranteed a much better Christmas.
Setting up the Tree
No Christmas is complete without an inordinately large tree propped up somewhere in the house. Then, of course, it must be outfitted with as many bright, shiny and sometimes even gaudy objects as possible.
While, to most, the Christmas tree represents holiday cheer and, more importantly, the potential for those gifts you wanted, it can also pose a number of threats.
If you insist on a real tree, then go with a service that will deliver and set it up for you. Otherwise, you could give yourself a hernia and still not have the tree safely installed, meaning greater problems down the line.
Ideally, you want your tree supported by three pieces of rebar with screws that go into its trunk and a water reservoir.
Be Sure to Water It
For the three weeks or so that you have a Christmas tree, remember that it’s one more mouth to feed. As a living thing, it’s going to need plenty of water. If you don’t provide it, the tree will repay your negligence by drying out and becoming one big piece of kindling—not something you want to have wrapped in yards of electric wires. Add to that the roaring fireplace, a generous temperature and nearby candles, and your Christmas tree could be a problem just waiting to happen (obviously, watering doesn’t completely eliminate this threat).
Keep the Pets Away
Being naturally curious, dogs and cats will definitely want to pay your tree a visit, but it won’t be to shake presents. Obviously, dogs may have one very specific interest in your tree, but cats are also able to climb it.
Protect your tree and the packages below it with a child-safety fence or other type of portable blockades.
Manage Your Stress
When you’re a kid, holidays mean weeks off from school, Christmas specials on TV and anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. When you’re an adult, it usually means lots of errands, staying in budget, preparing lavish meals and attending as many parties as possible.
This is a lot to put up with, meaning it’s extremely important that you properly manage your stress. Learn to say “no” to some requests and be sure you get plenty of sleep. If you do have children home from school, it won’t hurt them to help shovel the driveway or handle other important chores.
Don’t Get Behind the Wheel after Too Many Drinks
Lastly, given all the stress surrounding the holidays, no one could blame you for having a cocktail or two from time to time. However, the police will very much blame you if they catch you getting behind the wheel after you’ve had one too many. You could also ruin another family’s Christmas in a very serious way.
Ensure you have an enjoyable Christmas this year by following the five safety tips above. They’re not overly demanding and completely worth it.
Fireplace Safety Tips
Whether it’s to get in the Christmas spirit or to actually provide your home with a little extra heat, this time of year means most of us are preparing roaring fires in our fireplaces. While, there’s plenty to be said for the aesthetic and pragmatic purposes for doing this, never forget that building a fire in your home is also quite dangerous if you’re not careful. To that end, keep the following tips in mind, so your fireplace remains a source of heat and holiday cheer, not a potential threat.
Get Your Fireplace Inspected
Every year, you should have a professional inspect your wood-burning fireplace before you begin using it. Aside from the actual fireplace, your chimney can hide all sorts of hazards.
For one thing, wildlife may have snuck in and made a home out of it, meaning the moment you light a fire, you can be in for all sorts of dangerous issues.
Just the act of building a fire can put you at risk, though, given enough time. Chemicals that don’t make it out of the chimney will begin remain there, until enough fire finally provides the catalyst for a miniature inferno.
Regular inspections will keep you safe from these problems and mean that a professional is assuring the structural integrity of your chimney as well.
Keep an Eye on It
You should also keep an eye on your fireplace too, especially when winter comes and you begin using it. If you ever notice smoke coming into the home, this is definitely a problem. The same can be said for oily deposits you notice on the walls of your fireplace as this can signal buildup happening throughout the chimney. Called “creosote”, this substance is highly flammable.
Outside, regularly check the cap on top of your chimney. This addition is generally covered in mesh, so birds, squirrels, bats and other animals aren’t able to get in. The cap also shields the fireplace from snow and rain. If you ever notice it’s fallen off or otherwise not attached, call a professional immediately.
Choose the Right Wood
Treat your fireplace to only the best types of wood to avoid many dangerous situations. Oak, maple, birch and ash are best. These hardwoods burn nice and hot and for longer periods of time than other options. They are also cleaner to burn and less likely to result in the creosote we mentioned earlier. While they’re more expensive, you’ll find these hardwoods are definitely worth it.
Remodel if Necessary
The safest fireplaces are those with stainless steel liners and heat-proof glass on their doors. These elements ensure that you don’t lose any quality in your fires, while also being able to keep the flames where they belong. If you do install glass doors, just be sure you clean them after each fire (fortunately, this doesn’t take much work).
Don’t let something as cozy and comforting as a fire become a major source of concern. Safe fires are easy to enjoy so long as you follow the above steps.
Fire Prevention Tips for the Home
Living in a modern home means all kinds of luxuries, but it can also mean a number of risks. Amongst other things, you have to be careful about a fire breaking out at any time. With the below tips, this is easier than ever before.
Have a Professional Inspect It
After buying a home—whether you’re the first owner or not—it’s always a good idea to have a professional inspect it for possible fire hazards. This means checking your heating (including the gas it uses), plumbing, HVAC system and all wiring. They should also check the exterior for potential issues too.
Paying to have these inspections done every few years or so will definitely be worth it as well.
Pay Attention to Electrical Problems
There are some electrical problems we all know are signs of a potential fire. For example, if your smell something burning when you have certain devices on (even if there’s no actual flame), this means something is terribly wrong and you should turn everything off.
However, something like sporadic power surges and/or flickering lights are also important to take notice of. While outside influences could certainly be at work, these issues could also be indicative of a bad connection, a problem that may become worse in the form of a fire.
Breakers that trip and/or fuses that frequently blow should also be noted. Either is practically always a sign that an overloaded circuit or some type of wiring issue is putting your loved ones in danger. Call an electrician immediately.
Inspect Breaker Connections
Make a habit out of checking on your breaker connections, especially the ones located in panel boxes outdoors. Corrosion or any indication that thermal damage has occurred should have you worried. If you notice smoky residue near the terminals or poorly taped splices, again, call an electrician ASAP.
Check Your Appliances
Aside from the permanent features in your home, fires can also start from the appliances you use every day. For example, a dirty stove or oven is more than just an eyesore, it’s an easy place for fires to get started if you aren’t careful. While you’re cleaning them, do the same for your vent hoods and the filter you use. Exterior vents are vital too for keeping birds, insects and other vermin from impeding the flow of air, to say nothing of preventing debris from doing the same.
Always take an extra second to inspect the power cord of your appliance before plugging it in. Any wiring that is exposed could become a potential fire hazard.
Maintain Your Fireplace
If you use your fireplace, you have to properly maintain it. This means having it professionally cleaned and inspected once a year. It also means keeping an eye out for creosote, which is an oily substance that can build up in your fireplace and chimney when wood doesn’t burn all the way through. Creosote is extremely flammable, meaning it is also extremely dangerous.
Don’t let your home get damaged or destroyed because of a fire. Along with practicing common sense, the tips listed above will help keep you safe.
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