The non-profit, World Against Toys Causing Harm, has released its 2017 list of the ten most hazardous toys. W.A.T.C.H. says consumers buying toys on the Internet are already at a disadvantage, as they are unable to touch and physically inspect a toy and its packaging at the time of sale for more obvious hazards. In some cases, limited product information on e-commerce sites can lead to misinformed, and potentially dangerous, consumer toy purchases.
Here's their list:
- Briana Babydoll - potential hazard - choking
- Jetts Heel Wheels - potential hazard - blunt impact and fire-related burn injuries
- Oval Xylophone - potential hazard - ingestion and choking
- Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit - potential hazard - strangulation and fall-related injuries
- NERF Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbow - potential hazard - eye injuries
- Spider-man Spider-drone Official Movie Addition - potential hazard - eye and body impact injuries
- Hand Fidgetz Spinners - potential hazard - choking injuries
- Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword - potential hazard - blunt force injuries
- Pull Along Pony - potential hazard - cord measuring 19 inches rather than 12 inches which is the industry standard - no warning listed
- Hallmark's "Itty Bittys" Baby Stacking Toy - potential hazard - choking injuries
Be careful when ordering toys online and carefully read the manufacturers warnings.
Source: Property Casualty 360
With the holidays upon us, online shopping is predicted to increase 7 to 10%, or as much as $117 billion this season. If you are among these online shoppers, here are a few safety tips to protect yourself from a cyber-crime.
- Make sure the website is secure - that means sites with HTTPS.
- Use secure passwords
- Don't shop on public Wi-Fi networks
- Use Pay Pal
- Don't buy from websites you've never heard of
- Check prices in another browser
- Avoid public terminals
- Beware of coupon scams offer free products or significant discounts - never divulge your social security number to any offer
Follow these tips and be secure in your online holiday shopping.
Source: MAC blog and PC Magazine
Tomorrow is Veterans Day and all of us at the agency want to thank our veterans for their sacrifices in keeping our country safe. We are the home of the free because of the brave.
Originally named Armistice Day, the day marks the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The holiday's name was changed to Veterans Day at the end of the Korean War to honor all veterans.
Take a moment to remember our veterans. While we don't know them all, we certainly owe them all.
It's that time of year when we gain another hour's sleep by reverting to Standard Time. Don't forget to turn your clocks back one hour Saturday evening. Standard time begins at 2:00 am on Sunday.
Daylight Savings Time was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin following his trip to Paris where Europeans were changing their clocks to enjoy more daylight in the morning. DST also saves energy. According to the Department of Transportation, DST trims the entire country's electricity usage by a small but significant amount, because less electricity is used for lighting and appliances.
Enjoy your extra hour sleep knowing you are saving energy. Who would have thought?
Here are some tips to get ready for Halloween to insure you have a safe outing.
- Go During Safe Trick Or Treat Times
You don’t have to wait until it is pitch-black outside to go trick-or-treating. A good trick or treat time is right after an early dinner and just before dusk when you can keep better track of your children and you are able to see the others that you encounter on the street. Besides, if you are the first person there, you will have the best selection of candy!
- Steer Clear Of Masks
While masks are a fun part of many costumes, do your best to recreate the mask with face paint. Having a mask on can sometimes impair the vision of the child wearing it. With face paint, it is easier for your child to see where they are going and they won’t have to lift their mask to have a conversation with a fellow trick or treater. If your child absolutely must wear a Halloween mask, make sure it’s a snug fit, is ventilated and has large enough eyeholes so they can see all around them.
- Be Visible
If your kids will comply, choose costumes that are brightly colored so that they are easier to see in the dark. If they really want a dark costume, apply some reflective strips to their costume. You could also have them wear glow necklaces or carry glow sticks and flashlights.
- Never Go Alone
It is important that your children have an adult chaperon at all times while trick or treating. You should also discreetly add some emergency identification information such as the child’s name, address & phone number to their costume or on a bracelet in case your child happens to get separated from the group.
- Walking Tips
Be sure that your children understand simple traffic rules, such as stopping and looking both ways before crossing the street, and staying in a crosswalk if one is available. If you have to cross at a light, make sure you have the proper “walk” signal before you proceed. Inform your children that they should never assume that they have the right away when crossing the street, especially at night on Halloween.
- Knock On Doors That You Know
Encourage your children to only trick-or-treat at homes where they know the inhabitants. If they know everyone on the street, except for one house, they could ask the neighbors about that one house. If a home is dark or has no Halloween decorations, that is typically a good sign that they are not up for trick-or-treaters.
- Don’t Go Inside
Trick-or-treaters always seem to run across a house or two where someone invites them to “come in”. Remind your little ones that they should never go inside anybody’s home while trick-or-treating. They can easily get the candy they seek from the porch or if the homeowner is persistent, inform them to simply turn and walk away.
- Stay On Track
It might be tempting to take a short cut through an alley or cut through someone’s yard, but that can sometimes pose a danger. Stay on streets and in neighborhoods that are well lit and where there are plenty of people around.
- Say No!
If you’re children are old enough to trick or treat in a group without you, be sure and designate a time for their return. Teach your children that if a stranger offers to give them a ride or take them to a Halloween Party, they should say “no”. Stranger danger is important to remember no matter how old your kids are, even while trick-or-treating.
- Taste-Testing Patience
Make sure your little goblins know that trick or treating is for gathering candy, not eating it as they receive it. You know they’re going to be tempted to take a taste before you’ve had a chance to inspect it, so pack a goody bag with some of your own Halloween candy so they have something to snack on if they just can’t wait until they get home.
We hope you and your family enjoy Halloween. Have fun!
Fall is a great time to prepare the trees on your property for winter. The trees in your yard can enhance your property, provide shade and offer abundant environmental benefits. However, trees can also pose a safety hazard to your family and your home if they are not properly inspected and maintained.
Trees can present a particularly significant danger during a storm. Wind, lightning, snow and ice can all transform a tranquil row of trees into an imminent threat to your property. Proper tree maintenance involves more than pruning and trimming overgrown branches. These are some of the key steps you can take to protect your trees and prevent them from becoming a safety hazard. Look for these characteristics:
- Cracks in the trunk or major limbs.
- Signs of hollowing and decay.
- Mushrooms growing from the bark.
- Significant leaning to one side.
- Limbs in contact with power lines.
- Branches hanging over your house.
- Although the branches may not be touching your house under normal conditions, high winds can cause trees and branches to bend or break.
Take the time to do a walk-through of your property and examine your trees for any signs of deterioration. If you are enable to prune or eliminate damage, consult a professional tree-care service or arborist.
Sources: Clatterbuck, Wayne. "Storm-Damaged Residential Trees: Assessment, Care and Prevention." Extension.Tennessee.edu. The University of Tennessee; Coder, Kim. "Storm Damaged Trees: Prevention & Treatments." Warnell.Forestry.UGA.edu. The University of Georgia.
Being prepared for fall's inclement weather and hazardous driving challenges is half the battle.
- Watch your speed: Drive a bit slower when faced with fall driving hazards, especially if you're driving around a school bus.
- Keep your distance: Leave a little more space between you and the car in front on rainy or foggy days, during dawn or dusk, and in areas with wet leaves. This will give you more time to react.
- Stick with low beams: Keep your headlights on low when driving in the fog (and rain). High beams will only cause glare.
- Clear frost away from your windows: Frost can reduce visibility and response time on the road.
- Approach traffic lights carefully: Sun glare can make it harder to see traffic lights change, so approach them with more than the normal care.
- Avoid using products that increase gloss: Washing and waxing with these products can magnify the fall's sunny glare and make it hard to see.
- Clean your windshield, inside and out: When your windshield's illuminated by sunlight, dust particles, streaks, and smudges become magnified, making it hard to see the road.
- Watch for wildlife: especially in the early morning and evening hours.
- Check your tire pressure: Since fall weather rapidly changes from warm to cold, your tires will often expand and contract. This can lead to a loss of pressure.
Knowing what to look for and using these tips can help you avoid weather-related car accidents in the fall.
With spring cleaning far behind, and summer fun all but over, it’s time to start fall home maintenance. Fall is the perfect time to perform important maintenance to your home so you’re not caught in the middle of winter with a drafty house or a malfunctioning heater. We’ve compiled the top eight fall home maintenance tips, along with what you can do to ensure your home stays warm and comfortable this winter.
1. Heating System
If you have a furnace you need to take some basic care: Change the filter, check the blower belt, and oil the blower motor; inspect all electrical components and controls; ensure that the exhaust flue to the outside is clear of obstructions and in good condition from the furnace to the roof cap with all connections securely fastened; and finally, remove all flammable objects from around your furnace and water heater
2. Chimney and Fireplace
Chimneys and fireplaces cause some of the most expensive damage to homes. Build-up from creosote can easily ignite, causing a devastating fire. If you are unfamiliar with inspecting a chimney, it may be worth calling in a chimney sweep, which is usually quite affordable. Make sure to leave your flu closed when not in use, and always have a fireplace screen in front of open flames to protect your home from wayward sparks.
Windows may be a continual source of frustration for homeowners. There are many seal repair kits available at local hardware stores. Walk around the interior windows, placing your hand near the seal. Check for any breezes flowing through. Do the same process for doors. When you find one, mark it with a sticker or other indicator so you can tally how many repair kits you need. If a window is improperly sized, cracked, or broken, it needs to be replaced.
For doors, you can purchase draft preventers and other seal kits to improve the seal. Every 1/8 of an inch can lower a room a whole degree, so it can really pay off to have updated, well-sealed doors and windows.
4. Smoke Detectors, Fire Extinguishers, and First Aid Kits
Every six months, replace batteries in all the detectors in your home. Check the expiration dates on your first aid kit and fire extinguisher, and that each is up to date and in a convenient place. If you don’t have a fire escape route, this is a good time to draft one.
5. Indoor Pipes
Winterizing pipes is one of the easiest, most valuable ways to protect your home over the winter. Most home repair stores carry fitted insulation that can easily wrap around any size pipe. If you can’t afford to do every pipe in your home, give priority to the pipes that are closest to the outdoors, or most likely to freeze. It’s also a good idea to shut off water to any area that won’t be used, and to check pipes for leaks or cracks that may grow larger with the varying temperatures of fall.
6. Yard Maintenance
Fall leaves may be beautiful, but these can slowly rot, causing huge backup and damage in gutters. This backup will cause water to spill over the gutter and into your yard and walking areas, which can cause damage to your home and make walking conditions dangerous. Disconnect all garden hoses, and store them coiled and flat in a cool, dry place. If possible, turn of water to all outside faucets and drain them to protect the outside pipes from damage. Also, store any outdoor furniture that may become damaged from snow or ice.
7. Roof Inspection
A roof inspection may seem overkill, but harsh winter winds and heavy snow can take a toll on your home. It may be a good idea go up to your rooftop to check for any broken tiles or cracks. It’s important to take care of any damage now to avoid repairs during the cold winter months.
8. Stock Up on Winter Supplies for Your Home
Before prices on winter gear soars, stock up on winter items such as snow shovels, firewood, or sidewalk salt. It’s better to have the supplies now than to have to run to the store during a snowstorm!
These fall home maintenance tips are quick, easy, and affordable. It might be a good idea to brush up on home repair insurance coverage as you’re making improvements and renovations. As the adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - especially when it comes to home repairs.
Source: Trusted Choice
With National Preparedness month wrapping up, it's a good time, in light of the hurricanes and storms, to remind you to prepare. One project to consider is a Family Communication Plan.
Family Communication Plan
Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
FEMA has prepared four steps to create your plan and test it.
To find out what you need to know click on Make a Plan .
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old, according to the National Passenger Safety Board. Many deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.
One item that might not be used by caregivers and parents is the tether. The tether connects the top of a forward-facing car seat to the vehicle. It helps to prevent serious head and neck injury.
Click here to down load "How to Use a Car Seat Tether" to add another layer of car seat protection for your children.