Safe Stocking Stuffers

Better Safe Than Sorry

The best way to treat an illness or injury is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Here are some gift-giving suggestions for your loved ones and friends.

  • Working Smoke Alarm: As of 1995 about 93 percent of American homes had a smoke alarm. The bad news is that many aren't checked regularly and may not be working. In some cases, the alarm may just need a new battery. Working smoke alarms - placed in the right areas of your home - are terrific early warning systems and can reduce the risk of dying from a fire by almost 50 percent. It's also a good idea to keep two fire extinguishers in your home (one in the kitchen and the other in the bedroom closet).
  • Carbon-Monoxide Detector: When properly installed (and placed) carbon-monoxide detectors can prevent deaths from carbon-monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless and odorless. It's produced by the incomplete combustion of fuel, such as gasoline, coal, oil, natural gas, propane and kerosene. You may be exposed to carbon monoxide from automobile exhaust or appliances like furnaces or hot-water heaters that are improperly installed or malfunctioning. If fumes are released into an enclosed space such as a house or apartment, carbon-monoxide poisoning can result. Symptoms include abnormal sleepiness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. Be especially concerned if all members of the household have the same symptoms.
  • Scald-Guard Devices: Burns from hot water can be painful and dangerous, especially to the very young or the elderly. Most homeowners can adjust the temperature of their hot-water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. However, many people who live in multi-residential apartments cannot control the water temperature. Anti-scald devices (purchased from hardware stores and installed on bathtub or sink faucets) automatically shut the hot water off if the temperature goes above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (when it could cause a significant burn to the skin).

Other Gifts to Help Keep Your Loved Ones Safe

  • Pet and child rescue decals, which are applied to your front window near the door. These can alert firefighters as to the location of children and pets in case of a fire.
  • Rubber mats or nonskid strips for the bathtub. They may help decrease slips and falls in the tub.
  • An air purifier with a HEPA filter. It can especially help clear the air in a home with a smoker or with furry animals.
  • Special cabinet locks for homes with guns. It can help prevent accidental injuries or deaths, especially in homes with young children.
  • Night lights for the bathroom and stairs.
  • Working flashlights in case of a power outage.
  • Medical alert bracelets for people with allergies or illnesses that may require immediate attention. (The bracelet may save a person's life in an emergency situation where they may be unable to communicate.
  • Light reflectors for your family and friends (and don't forget your pets!) who exercise outside at night, whether jogging or walking.
  • A gift certificate to a fitness center. It just may jumpstart your loved one into a healthy year of exercise.
  • Cell phone. I know about the controversy of driving while speaking on the phone, but this is different. You could buy one of those prepaid phones and use it only in case of an emergency. It would certainly come in handy in case of a vehicle breakdown.

In the meantime, here's wishing you and yours a safe and healthy holiday season.

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