After purchasing a new appliance for your home, the last thing you're probably thinking about is how it could potentially be a safety hazard. But it's this lack of awareness that all too often results in accidents and injuries when kids use them in ways that they weren't meant for.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 43,000 consumers are injured every year in tip-over accidents, resulting from televisions, furniture and other appliances. Of these, close to 60 percent are among children under the age of 18. Some have been so serious as to require hospitalization.
Then there are electrical hazards. More than 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents take place annually in the U.S. alone, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International. And more than 100,000 people are treated in an emergency room after being scalded.
With kids doing what they do - turning virtually everything into a toy - there are several things you can do as a parent to prevent accidents from happening around the home.
1. Speak to your child directly. If your kids are young, they may not be aware of the safety hazards certain appliances pose. You should be sure to make it clear that specific appliances are off-limits, meaning they aren't to be touch under any circumstances.
2. Childproof electrical outlets. Appliances would be nothing if they didn't have an outlet. But it's these same outlets that children might stick their finger in - which can result in quite the shock, not to mention a fire hazard. To prevent fingers, metal objects or other non-plugs from being inserted, be sure to cover them up with socket protectors, which you should be able to find at hardware or even grocery stores.
3. Put it on the back burner. Pots often have long handles that kids may try to reach. Instead of placing them up front, pots and pans should be on the rear burners to prevent children from burns.
4. Anchor your TV. The CPSC estimates that between 2000 and 2011, nearly 350 people were killed after TV, furniture or some other appliance toppled onto them. If you're mounting your television set on a high perch, make sure that it's anchored to the floor or the wall. Ideally, though, television sets should be low to the ground or at the very least away ledges.
For other safety advice around the home, visit Safe Kids Worldwide.
The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.
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