While safety is important throughout the entire year, there are a few safety precautions to take as we enter the cool autumn and winter seasons.
Be safe on Halloween. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic significantly increases on and around Halloween. According to the National Safety Council, about 6,100 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2013. Their research also found that these deaths varied by age. Running into the road accounted for about 70 percent of pedestrian deaths or injuries for children ages 5-9 and about 47 percent for those ages 10-14. Adults should accompany young children while trick-or-treating. For older children going out alone, make sure an adult knows the route they’re going to take and give them a curfew. Trick-or-treaters should only approach familiar houses with the porch light on and should never, ever enter a stranger’s home.
Avoid burning leaves. Burning leaves is illegal in some areas. It also releases dangerous chemicals into the air, so try to find another way to get rid of them. If you must dispose of leaves this way, protect your face and do it far from your home. Also use caution if it’s windy outside. And while raking those leaves, you can prevent an aching back by standing upright, pulling from your arms and legs, and bend at the knees to lift something.
Change smoke alarm batteries. The batteries should be changed twice per year. Many people use Daylight Savings Time as an easy way to remember to change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
Make sure your heater is working. Before it gets too chilly, turn it on to test and make sure it sufficiently heats up your house. If it seems weak or isn’t working at all, call a professional. You don’t want to get stuck in a bind when the weather hits freezing temperatures.
Be careful with space heaters. They may be small, but they pack a powerful punch, able to heat one area or room on their own. Make sure there is plenty of space around the heater so it can vent and you don’t want it to accidentally set something close to it on fire. Don’t leave a space heater unattended.
Candle safety. While candles give off a great aroma and a soft glow, they are definitely fire hazards. Keep them away from flammable materials, light them in a place where kids or pets can’t knock them over, and make sure to blow them out before leaving your house or going to sleep. The National Candle Association reports that almost 10,000 home fires per year start with faulty candle use.
Watch for poor weather conditions while driving. Rain, snow, fog, ice, and wet leaves are only a few dangers you may encounter on the road over the next few months. Roads can become slippery and visibility decreases in poor conditions, making pedestrians, bicycles, animals, and road signs hard to see.
Watch for children. School is back in session, so watch street corners for children waiting for buses and make sure you follow correct road laws when it comes to stopping for school buses. Children also like playing in piles of leaves. Be safe in neighborhoods where leaves may pile up.
Be safe driving in the dark and bright sunshine. The amount of daylight decreases through autumn and winter, which means you’ll spend more time driving in the dark. Make sure you’re using your headlights correctly and focus on your route. You’ll also need to be careful in the morning. This time of year, the bright sunshine typically rises during morning rush hour. Have sunglasses on hand to protect your eyes.
Put together an emergency kit for your car. You never know when car trouble could arise. You may find yourself stuck on the side of the road in the rain, snow, or at night. Put together a first aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, a blanket, and other devices you think might be helpful.
Practice good ladder safety. Whether you’re doing yard work or hanging Christmas decorations, you will likely use a ladder this time of year. Make sure it’s the right height for the task at hand, it should be placed on level ground at all times, avoid stepping on the top rung, and follow other safe rules, like the ones outlined in this video.
Get a flu shot and prepare for other illnesses. Protect yourself and those around you from becoming sick. Many pharmacies and walk-in clinics are available to give you a flu shot. Washing your hands on a regular basis will get rid of germs. Avoid going to work or school when you’re sick. Your co-workers and fellow students will thank you.