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Harvest Haven: Top 10 Fall Family Safety Tips

Posted: September 29, 2016

As kids go back to school in the fall, it can take time to get used to your new routine. While your family adjusts to the new school year, take time to examine your family’s safety habits. As moms know, there are many different aspects to family safety. Here, we highlight a broad range of safety suggestions to keep in mind for your whole family.

1. Brush up on food safety

With so many food allergies and sensitivities out there, there are even more food safety considerations than in the past. Make sure that lunch and snack items containing common allergens are clearly marked and contained in airtight containers. Although handwashing is important for food sanitation and keeping our germs to ourselves, it is also important to avoid spreading remnants of any allergens we may have touched. Other food safety best practices include cleaning kitchen surfaces frequently, separating foods to avoid cross-contamination and refrigerating foods that require it promptly.

dont drink drive

2. Don’t drink and drive

As much as kids enjoy fall festivities, parents enjoy them, too. Fall brings with it tailgating at big games, Halloween parties, hayrides and more. When your festivities take you away from your home or street, be sure to plan for a safe ride home. This might be a designated driver, but there are other options such as a cab, Uber, or simply riding with a friend.

3. Shoo the flu

This one goes back to handwashing, but there are other ways to prevent the flu. Vaccinating is accepted as the most effective way to prevent the flu. Even so, there are other steps to keep your family well. Teach kids and adults alike to cover their coughs and sneezes with their elbows or tissues to avoid spreading germs with their hands. If someone in the family does get sick, be sure to keep them home and separated from the rest of the family as much as possible. You don’t want to share the illness with anyone else. Check your kids’ schools’ rules about returning after illness.

prepare for winter

4. Prepare for winter weather

There are multiple facets to preparing for winter weather. One of the easiest is keeping a jacket and gloves in your kids’ backpacks and are handy for those unexpected changes in weather that fall can bring. Also, be sure to keep space heater and fireplace safety in mind. Each carries its own risks, including carbon monoxide poisoning for certain types of space heaters and house fires for fireplaces. ADT home security has optional carbon monoxide monitoring to help protect your family with early warnings for elevated carbon monoxide, smoke, and fire.

5. Bring the outside in

Winter weather can be brutal for outdoor furniture, toys and landscaping items. Bring these items inside for the winter — whether to a shed or a basement. Cover items that are too large, heavy or cumbersome to be brought in. Wood items tend to rot, metal items rust, and textiles weaken when left to the elements over the winter, causing painful surprises when it’s time to enjoy them again after things thaw. Moving these items indoors helps preserve them and keep your family safer.

dont answer door without parent

6. Don’t allow children to answer the door without a parent

When the doorbell rings, no one knows who’s behind door #1. It could be a trick-or-treater, a Girl Scout selling cookies, or a complete stranger. Don’t let your child be the one to find out which. If you want extra peace of mind, consider using security cameras with ADT Pulse to monitor your front door from the inside and/or outside.

7. Use reflective gear when biking or walking after dark

As your kids become preteens and teens, it’s inevitable: they will start coming home after dark sometimes — usually by foot or bike. Equip them to do this safely by outfitting them with reflective gear on their outerwear, backpack and bike. Flashing or steady lights are also recommended for added bike safety. If you won’t always be home to greet them, consider ADT Pulse security cameras so you can know for sure exactly when they get home (they can come in handy in others ways for teenagers as well, but that’s a whole different conversation).

secure glass doors

8. Secure glass doors

Back-to-school season means many homes are empty for several hours on weekdays. Sliding glass doors can be vulnerable entry points for burglars for a few reasons. First and foremost, they are often out of site, so they make an easy way to slip in unnoticed by neighbors. However, they also have hardware that isn’t as secure as other exterior doors.

If your family doesn’t normally enter the house through these doors, consider using a security bar for added defense. But one of the best deterrents for burglars is a monitored home security system with proper signage around the home (if you pair it with a large barking dog, even better).

9. Talk about gun safety

Fall often brings a busy social calendar with kids coming over after school, sleepovers and hanging out after school sporting events. Whether you have guns in your home or not, it is important that your whole family knows what to do if they encounter one. Train children to stay away and treat every gun (whether they think it is real or a toy) as if it were loaded.

If you do own firearms, keep them out of kids’ reach and locked away. You can also add an alarm sensor to cabinets to take gun security a step further. establish an emergency plan

10. Establish or refresh your emergency plan

Fall’s dwindling daylight hours can make after-dark emergency escapes tricky. If you don’t already have a family emergency plan, there’s no time like the present — create one right away. This will help ensure that everyone knows what to do and where to go when the unexpected happens.

Key elements include:

  • Every room should have two exits
  • Upstairs rooms should have escape ladders
  • Establish a meeting point
  • Plan a buddy system to make sure everyone is accounted for

There are so many things to think about when it comes to your family’s overall safety — in truth more than any one parent could master on their own. As we all know, it truly does take a village to raise a child.