The mention of tornados, flooding and those occasional winter storms reminds us to be prepared for disasters or think about home safety. But our every day habits are the best way to guarantee that our home environment is safe for the entire family. This month on "It's About YOU", Rosie Allen, Gallatin Co Family and Consumer Sciences Agent and Joan Bowling, a Kenton County Family and Consumer Science Agent share tips on how to create a safe and healthy home year round, especially for children of all ages!

Every room needs to be inspected for safety hazards or products that may be harmful to you or the family, but starting with the kitchen and bathroom is the first step.

  • Pay attention to look-alikes (medicine or cleaning products resembling food) that may be in the reach of your children. For example:
    • Red cold tablets- cinnamon candy
    • Antacid tablets-candy
    • Grape cold medicine-grape flavored drinks
    • Chocolate laxatives-chocolate candy bars
    • Window Cleaner- mouthwash
    • Household cleaner-lemon lime soft drink
    • Rodent poison - candy, cereal or sunflower seeds
  • Discard out of date prescription drugs or keep prescriptions in a place accessible only for the family member needing the medication.
  • In the kitchen, keep chemicals away from food

Establishing good fire safety habits is essential to keeping a home safe. Installing a smoke alarm in any home, regardless of size is one of the best preventive measures. Other preventive measures include:

  • When using fireplaces, keep fireplace screens closed and the fireplace utensils away from the children.
  • After lighting fireplaces or candles, store matches or lighters in an area inaccessible to children-preventing the temptation to play with fire! 
  • Always extinguish candles before leaving the room.
  • If you do smoke, smoke outside and away from others, especially children.

Creating a safe and healthy home environment also includes proper storage and preparation of foods. Washing hands is the first rule! Always wash hands before handling any food or during food preparation especially when handling raw meats. Make sure countertops are clean and sanitized prior to food preparation activities and store foods away from any kitchen cleaning supplies.

Being prepared for natural disasters should be part of our home safety routines as storms or electrical outages are not always predictable. Keep canned foods and non fat dry milk for those emergencies along with adequate water for all family members. Keep flashlights and emergency kits in accessible locations and have a plan for safe shelter during tornados or any type of seasonal storm. 

Keeping the family safe starts at home....with you!