Protect your kids from electrical shocks


child playing with electrical outlet

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) says that every year, about 2,400 children suffer severe shock and burns when they stick keys, pens, paperclips and other small items into electrical outlets, Many parents put covers or caps on the outlets, but studies show this is not a particularly effective deterrent to little fingers – a study by Temple University found that 100% of all 2-4 year olds were able to remove one type of plastic outlet cap within 10 seconds.

There’s a better solution called tamper resistant receptacles, or TRRs, that offer a simple, affordable, reliable and permanent solution to help protect kids. They look just like ordinary outlets but are equipped with spring-loaded receptacle cover plates to close off the opening slots. Since 2008, the National Electrical Code has required them to be installed in all new home construction – but many older homes do not have them. If you have children, you may want to consider converting to them – but TRRs should only be installed license electricians.

Tips to protect yourself, your kids and your pets from lawn mower injuries


man mowing a lawn

Lawn mowers are powerful machines, with the power to injure and maim. While many adults suffer serious injuries, children are at particularly high risk. Every year, lawn mower injuries send 13,000 children to the emergency department, with more than more than 8% of all injuries being serious enough to require hospital admission. More than half of hospitalizations result in amputations, usually in lower extremities. Bystanders and passengers were almost four times more likely than operators to be admitted. The most common types of lawn mower injuries were cuts (39%) and burns (15%). The hand/finger was the most commonly injured body region, followed by the leg, feet and toes. Some of the most devastating lawn mower injuries result from backing up into/over young children while blades are engaged.

Most injuries result from human error rather than mechanical failure. It’s really important to take lawnmower safety very seriously. We’ve amassed safety tips from various sources – get more information from the source links after the tips.

  • Know your equipment – read and keep the operator’s manual and instructions.
  • Understand safety features. Never disengage them.
  • At the beginning of each season, inspect the mower to ensure it is operating well. Check that parts, nuts and bolts are all tight, clean, and in good working order. Never use a damaged mower without having it repaired/checked.
  • Before each mow, check to be sure your mower is in good condition and safety mechanisms are in place.
  • Don’t mow after dark or during electrical storms. Avoid mowing wet grass.
  • If your lawn mower is electric, use a ground fault circuit interrupter to prevent electric shock.
  • Always stop the engine and allow it to cool before refueling.
  • Before mowing, pick up any stones, branches, toys or other objects in the grass.
  • Don’t mow over gravel.
  • Dress for safety. Use safety glasses, hearing protection and wear sturdy shoes. No bare feet, exposed toes.
  • Always mow going forward. Do not mow in reverse unless necessary, and always check first. Avoid pulling lawn mowers to you.
  • Use extra caution when mowing a slope or a hill.
  • Never make any adjustments while the mower is running.
  • Shut it off when not in use. Do not allow motors to run unattended.
  • Keep pets inside while mowing.

Safety for kids

  • Keep young children (age 1 to 6) inside while mowing is going on.
  • Never let children be passengers on ride-able mowers.
  • Children should be at least 12 to use a push mower and at least 16 to operate a ride-able mower.
  • Teach teens how to operate the mower safely and run through a safety checklist.

Sources and more information

Insurance Information Institute: Lawnmower Safety

Consumer Reports: 5 ways to stay safe when mowing the lawn

Science Daily: Lawn mower injuries send 13 children to the emergency department every day

MedlinePlus: Lawn Mowers Are Risky Business for Kids

The Family Handyman: Top Ten Mower Safety Tips

Healthy Children: Lawn mower safety

It’s Playground Safety Week – time to check those playgrounds!


Every year, about 200,000 kids are injured seriously enough in public playgrounds that they require emergency room treatments. As seasonal warm weather starts to settle in and kids head to public parks and play spaces, National Playground Safety Week offers a good reminder to parents. Don’t take it for granted that the public or commercial play equipment that your kids like so much are safe – make it your business to check out these spaces for yourself.  Don’t hesitate to call your Parks & Recreation department to ask about safety.

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) offers a helpful checklist of things that you should look for in playgrounds. For other excellent guides, see KidsHealth and the
National Safety Council.

We’ve compiled just a few these tips:

Provide supervision.  Adults should be on hand to watch for hazards and respond to any emergencies.

Ensure age-appropriate outdoor play. Make sure your kids are not using equipment that is above their age or safety level. See the NPPS guide for age appropriate design.

Be alert for clothing hazards. Be careful about strings on your kids’ clothing or on equipment. Strings can get caught causing strangulation.Remove strings, scarves, necklaces, and jewelry. Kids should also wear appropriate footwear. And here’s one important point: some parents might think a bike helmet would offer good playgroup protection – wrong! Playgrounds and helmets don’t mix. Helmets can snag on equipment or tree branches and cause asphyxiation.

Prevent burns. In addition to being careful that your kids are not out in the sun too long and have sunscreen to prevent burns, be sure to check the temperature of equipment surfaces. On a hot day, some equipment could be hot enough to cause burns. See Tips for limitings sun exposure.

Be alert for heavy molded plastic animal swings.  Those animal swings might look fun to you and your kids, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled these a number of years ago because the weight and frame can cause serious injuries if they strike kids. CPSC offers a 61 page Public Playground Safety Handbook that offers more safety information.

If you are planning for equipment at homes, see the NPPS backyard playground video series for tips.  And if you do have a backyard playground, make sure that you check with your insurance agent to be sure you have adequate liability insurance.

Keeping Kids safe: Tips for childproofing your home


children playing

Injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages 19 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The home should be the safest place for kids, but that isn’t always the case. SafeKids reports that every year, 2,200 children – or six kids a day – die at home in the U.S. from unintentional injuries, and another 3.5 million go to the emergency department to be treated for the kinds of injuries that commonly happen in homes. They offer great information and prevention tips on types of kid injuries that occur most frequently in the home. These include:

  • Button Battery Injury Prevention
  • Falls Prevention
  • Fire, Burns and Scalds Prevention
  • General Home Safety
  • Laundry Packet Safety
  • Medication Safety
  • Suffocation Prevention and Sleep Safety
  • Toy Safety
  • TV and Furniture Tip-overs Prevention
  • Water Safety

We also like this Childproofing 101 Infographic from fix.com that highlights key areas in the home that you should pay attention to.


Source: Fix.com Blog

Back to school toolkit for kids of all ages


back to schoolIt’s getting to be that time of year… back-to-school season! Over the years, we’ve posted lots of advice for parents and students of all ages. In this post, we’ll offer some of our best back-to-school posts, with a few new resources thrown in.

College planning

Kids heading off to college? Double check insurance coverage first – we talk about homeowners/renters, auto, ID theft, tuition insurance and stand-alone policies for electronics.

College survival guide: Safety tips, what to pack, dorm hacks – a handy list of checklists from safety & security to eating healthy in a dorm.

ID theft is on the upswing and college students are at high risk – common types of fraud, resources to avoid ID theft or deal with it if it happens, and information on identity theft insurance.

Rental Insurance for the College Graduate – we suggest this as a gift for recent graduates, but it is as valid for students who will be renting. The post talks about myths, checklists and what you need to know.

Kids at home – back to school

Tips from 60,000 pediatricians about back to school safety – this post focuses on safety issues around traveling back and forth to school. You can also click for an updated checklist of Back to School Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Schoolbus safety tips

Backpack safety – there are a surprisingly high number injuries from overloaded back packs. Learn how to be sure your kids are not at risk.

Tips & tools for avoiding or dealing with the flu

Edutopia: Back to school resources for parents

PBS Parents: Back-to-School Tips for Parents

KidsHealth: Back to School – lots of advice for parents, or click through to get advice for kids, too.

Care.com: 101 Back-to-School Tips for Kids and Parents