The dog days of Summer are here, and if you’re like millions of other American families, you’ll be spending lots of time by the pool.
While pools offer a slice of paradise in your backyard – they can also be incredibly dangerous. Here’s 3 safety tips for you to keep in mind.
1) No swimming without an adult around
Drowning doesn’t look like what you see on TV. Don’t let children swim unsupervised, even if your kids are future Olympians. It’s always best to have an adult keeping an eye on things. At cook outs, it’s a great idea to have a rotating schedule of chaperones so every one can enjoy the party.
2) No running
This one is a no-brainer, but still critical to remember. Pool decks are slippery, and it only takes one fall for someone to get a nasty bruise (or worse!) Don’t take any chances. Walk, don’t run. The last thing you need is a trip to the hospital… or a lawsuit.
3) No diving in the shallow end (or no diving at all)
Research of Spinal Cord Injury Statistics found that 57.2% of all pool diving accidents occur in water 4 feet deep or less, while only 4.8% of swimming pool diving accidents occur in water at least 8 feet deep. Experts recommend no diving at all in above-ground swimming pools.
A “Pool Rules” sign is a great way for you to remind family, neighbors and friends to be cautious in and around your pool. Visual reminders are an excellent way to keep everyone thinking about safety as they enjoy a dip. Search for an affordable sign online or consider creating a home made version with some plywood and paint. It can be a great Summer project for you and your kids, and creating the sign at home can even help your children memorize the rules.
Most insurers require a fence around a pool to qualify for coverage. But even if they weren’t required, it’s always recommended for safety. Children go outside to play in the Summer, and your pool should be inaccessible unless there’s an adult around to supervise.
Talk to your insurance agent about your Homeowners coverage to make sure your pool meets the minimum safety standards required by most insurers.
Spring is officially here, and as any homeowners knows, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and tackle some annual home maintenance tasks. Consumer Reports put this great list together last year. It includes tips for:
- Cleaning household filters
- De-griming countertop appliances
- Washing windows
- Prepping your lawn mower
- Sprucing up your Lawn
- Getting your gas grill ready
- Pressure washing your deck (or porch)
- Organizing your garage
- Checking your tires
For a good year-round home maintenance checklist, the American Society of Home Inspectors has a comprehensive list of tasks and suggests as to whether they should be completed periodically, in the spring or in the fall.
We also like this cute springtime infographic from ReadyNest – see below or click on the image for the original.
Garage door maintenance tips: A handy infographic
New homeowners: Build your home maintenance tool-kit
Deck maintenance tips & tools: Don’t risk a collapse!
How impaired are you when driving under the influence? Ford’s Driving Skills For Life Program tested that theory out on teens using a drunk driving simulator suit that they developed to mimic the feeling and effects of inebriation. With weight pads, sound and goggles, they simulated the effects of drunkenness and had teens try driving while impaired.
“To impair coordination and balance, teens have a set of weights strapped to their body in different locations. For instance, one might be on the left ankle while others weight their shoulders and wrists down.
For a slower physical reaction time, trainers attach restrictive braces to both elbows and knees. Lastly and, perhaps, most challenging, the young participants don muffling headphones and vision-distorting goggles.”
This is a simulation, but the problem is real. While alcohol-related driving deaths have trended down since the 1990s, alcohol is still a factor in nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 50 minutes. These deaths have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. – NHTSA
Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Count) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. You can learn about your BAC and how to get a rough calculation of your BAC, and what level of drinking will lead to impairment for your weight/sex. There are also a variety of BAC gauging apps that you can get for your phone. Learn more about the effects: The 6 stages of getting drunk.
It’s very important to know your state laws and BAC limits: Find your state’s drunk driving laws
Most states have administrative license suspension (ALS) on the first offense. ALS allows law enforcement to confiscate a driver’s license for a period of time if he fails a chemical test.
DUI and Insurance
If you have a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) license suspension or a DUI-related accident, it will be reflected in your state driving record and you should expect it to have an impact on your insurance. As a “high risk driver,” your insurance company could cancel your policy or decide to drop you when it is up for renewal. At the very least, expect limited options and a huge hike in the price you pay to secure coverage. In some states, an insurance company may deny coverage of personal injuries or property damage related to a DUI-related accident.
A DUI conviction may also have a big effect on Life Insurance rates. Some companies may decline coverage entirely for a number of years after a conviction.
During pregnancy, expectant mothers often have questions about the best way to stay safe while driving. Common questions include whether seat belts are safe, how to best position the steering wheel, and if airbags are safe or if they should be disabled. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to the rescue – they answer these and other questions in a downloadable quick guide: If You’re Pregnant: Seat Belt Recommendations for Drivers and Passengers
We’ve excerpted a few of the NHTSA graphics and compiled bullet points below.
- Always wear a lap and shoulder belt when driving. It’s also important to wear seat belts if you are a passenger. AAA says that seat belts reduce traffic fatalities of front-seat passengers by 45%.
- Put the belt below – not across – your belly. It should be snug across your hips and pelvic bones. Seat belt straps should never go directly across your stomach.
- Don’t put the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back – not only does wearing the shoulder belt help restrain you and prevent injuries in a collision, wearing it incorrectly could cause injuries in a collision.
- Tighten belts to remove any slack. They should lie flat and fit snugly.
- Airbags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them.
- Don’t disable airbags. Air bags reduce the risk of injury for expectant mothers and don’t increase the risk of injury for unborn babies.
- Keep at least 10-12 inches of distance between you and the steering wheel.
- As your belly grows, you may need to adjust the seat to sit as far back as you can while still reaching the pedals.
- If the car has a tilt steering wheel, angle it toward your breastbone, not your head or your belly.
- Avoid letting your belly touch the steering wheel.
AAA has a good related reference article: Car Safety Tips for Expecting and New Parents. In addition to tips for expectant mothers, they offer info for new parents on topics of shopping for a car seat, types of car seats, car seat installation, and registering your car seat to be notified of any recalls.
Fall is time to batten down the hatches before old man winter comes to call. Depending on where you live in the country, your maintenance may vary a bit. While snow can happen in all 50 states, in some states it’s pretty darn rare. Louisiana, Florida and Hawaii are the least likely states to get snow, while New York, Wyoming and Vermont top the list – check your state. But surprise storms do occur, even in the south. And the toll that winter takes on your house and yard isn’t limited to snow: winter cold snaps, freezing rain, harsh winds, hail and ice can also cause damage so it’s good to prepare now while the weather is mild. And don’t forget that hurricane season continues through November!
Check out our prior post on Winterizing: Money saving ideas for heating your home – something to think about over the autumn months. We’ve also compiled a checklist of other tasks to tackle before the colder weather sets in.
- Have your furnace, heating and hot water system inspected and cleaned by a professional, This is important for oil-fired to prevent puffback.
- Inspect and clean chimneys and fireplaces.
- Clean air ducts and vents.
- Check and replace air filters and reverse ceiling fans.
- Winterize water pipes.
- Turn off exterior faucets and water sources.
- Drain lawn irrigation systems.
- Check roof and shingles and make any repairs.
- Take steps to prevent ice dams
- Clean gutters.
- Check foundation, cellar and garage for gaps where critters could get in.
- Insulate doors and windows to prevent drafts.
- Test smoke and CO2 detectors; replace batteries.
- Check and repair walkways, stairs, driveways.
- Check and repair garage doors.
- Clean outdoor pools and prep or cover for the winter.
- Store or cover outdoor furniture and grills.
- Bring in summer yard equipment.
- Cover air conditioners.
- Check and repair outdoor lighting.
- Clean the clothes dryer to prevent fires.
- Check and test winter equipment such as your snowblower.
- Ensure you have shovels, sand, ice scrapers on hand.
- Stock up on firewood if you have a fireplace or stove. Here are good tips for storing firewood.
- Review your homeowners policy to understand what it covers. Have a talk with your independent insurance agent to address any gaps.