Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Last week I was invited to a Febreze Safety Immersion to learn more about what Procter & Gamble is doing to ensure consumers feel safe using Febreze products. I’ll admit, before going I didn’t use Febreze products as my first thought was “chemicals.” Well, I was wrong and what I learned about Febreze, both during the presentation by scientists and the cool lab tour, is that reading the label doesn’t tell the entire story.

The morning started with a presentation by one of Febreze’s principal scientists. Science has never been my thing so I was sure this would be way over my head but it wasn’t – the scientist did a great job of breaking it down and explaining how Febreze’s OdorClear technology works to neutralize odor rather than simply mask it. There’s no way I could accurately describe this to you, but the below video can and it illustrates how molecules in Febreze actually capture “bad odor” molecules to eliminate them.

The best part of the day was our tour of the lab where we did real “stink experiments” – and I do mean STINK! Who knew you could create body odor in a lab and package it, but yup – it smelled like some of the worst body odor I’ve ever smelled. It literally made my eyes water! The scientist then sprayed Febreze Fabric Refresher Free, which has no perfume in it, on one of the body odor towels and a competitive brand on the other. The “BO towel” with the competitive brand smelled like…well…floral scented body odor – it was pretty gross. The towel with the Febreze had absolutely no smell whatsoever. You can also learn about the three other types of odor cleaning technologies and how and why Febreze cleans away stink here.

So great – Febreze works, but the big question for me was whether Febreze is safe or toxic. What’s really in the product and, more importantly, what’s not? Febreze products don’t have phthalates, formaldehyde or flammable propellants. All P&G products including Febreze ingredients are listed on SmartLabel (if you don’t have this app you need it!) and by the end of 2019 P&G will share online all fragrance ingredients down to 0.01 percent for all their products, which includes more than 2000 fragranced products.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation and assumptions online about air fresheners that aren’t based on science or research. To address this, the Febreze team recently participated in the inaugural Household & Commercial Products Association Air Care Summit to share and assess the science behind air fresheners. The summit included academic and medical experts in toxicology, inhalation science, pediatrics and pulmonology medicine. The goal of the group is to help consumers make informed decisions about the Air Care products they use and provide accurate information.

I was amazed at how much I learned at this summit and have been talking Febreze OdorClear technology with my family ever since! Stay tuned as I’ll be posting some real-world experiments with Febreze of my own.

emersonDisclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Now that we’ve moved into a new house, my kids are dying to get a dog.  While I love the idea of having a pet, it’s a TON of responsibility and I’m not sure I’m up for it just yet.  And I know I’m definitely not up to housebreaking a puppy and hiding all of my shoes that would most likely become chew toys.

After having recently cared for two adorable 4 month-old pups, I realized there are almost as many safety issues to consider for them as well as human babies and they are quite similar.  Here are a few things to be mindful of if you have a puppy in the house:

Choking hazards: Make sure garbage cans are locked and behind cabinet doors to prevent your dog from getting to something that could hurt him such as bones, sharp cans or objects that present a choking hazard.  Put away all small possessions, such as remote controls, children’s toys, power cords, toothbrushes, shoes, or anything small enough to be chewed on or swallowed.

Fire hazards: Tipped over lamps can be a fire hazard since an excited dog may knock it over.  With systems like COX Homelife, you can remotely turn on and off your lights from your wireless device and double check if you accidentally left a light on.    You can also check in on your pet from wireless cameras to make sure he’s safe and not getting into trouble.

You should also never leave oil burners, scent plug-ins, or other heated scent products plugged in while not home as they can be knocked over and pose a fire hazard.  Get fire safety stickers to notify personnel that there are pets in the house in case of emergency.

Poison hazards: Keep all medications, cleaning fluids, or other hazardous substances put away.  Many people know that chocolate can be poisonous to a dog but there are a long list of other foods as well.  Block access to cabinets and drawers by either closing the doors to those rooms or securing them with child-proof latches.  Check to see if any plants you have are poisonous to animals and, if so, keep them in a blocked off room or out of reach.

Drowning: It’s estimated that thousands of family pets die in drowning accidents every year.  Even a dog who knows how to swim can panic if he falls into a pool so be sure you keep this area protected.  Dog should not be allowed around a pool without supervision.  Pool covers are NOT a form of protection. Covers can be deceptive to pets, as they look like a solid surface but can give out and lead to a tragedy.  Consider purchasing a pet alarm such as the Safety Turtle which will alert you if your dog has fallen into the pool.

Having a puppy is a big responsibility – keep them safe and happy!

Since June is recognized as Home Safety Month, it seems an appropriate time to think about some basic safety facts that people seem to forget:

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.


Plan for emergencies
– I’m embarrassed to admit that last night, as we were having severe lightning storms, I realized that two of my flashlights had dead batteries.   Making sure that you have emergency gear should be something you think about before you actually need it!  This includes:

  • Working flashlights
  • Checking that smoke detectors and CO detectors are functioning
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Several gallons of water
  • Fire extinguishers

Also be sure that you always keep your cell phone charged in case of power outages.

feature-home-security-house-moonSecure your home – Whether it’s “traditional” breaking & entering or home invasions, no community is immune to this threat.  Install a home monitoring system like COX Homelife that will allow you to place cameras outside your front door to see who’s there before opening.   When you’re not home 24/7 Monitoring & Response is always-available and if an alarm is tripped, the Cox Homelife monitoring center will notify you immediately.

Be sure that the outside of your home is well lit and not obstructed by plants or shrubs.  When you’re away, use your Homelife system to schedule lights being turned on and off at random times so that it appears the home is occupied.

Reduce the risk of falls – Falls are the leading cause of accidents in the home.  Safeguard against injuries to toddlers, seniors and all family members by keeping some of these tips in mind:

  • Install gates at the top of staircases with a mechanism that will prevent them from opening over the staircase
  • Make sure that both inside and outside stairs are well lit and free of toys, clutter and wet leaves. With the COX Homelife system you can have lights go on when motion is sensed so if you or your child is walking down the hall in the dark a light will go on.
  • Be sure that you have grab bars in all of your tubs. Falls are the leading cause of injury in the bathroom for both toddlers and seniors

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

SafetyTipBlogImage

Now that appears spring is finally here, I’m itching to start throwing the windows open and doing a big spring cleaning.  Along with cleaning, it’s a great time to do a bit of a home safety check-up.  Here are a few “do-it-yourself” tips for making your home safe for the entire family.

Test your home for lead poisoning – Lead poisoning affects more than 434,000 children under the age of 6, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but recent research suggests that five times that many — 10 percent of all young children — may actually be in danger.   Most people assume that lead is only in paint chips in older homes but that’s not the case.  Any windows or doors that were once painted with lead-based paint can put of dust particles every time they’re opened which can then leach on to toys, furniture and carpets.  What’s more, lead that’s on outdoor playsets and wooden furniture can also leach into the soil and be tracked in on shoes.

Falls are the leading cause of accidents in the home – This is true for toddlers, seniors and everyone else.  Make sure staircases both inside and outside are well lit.  If necessary, install motion sensor lights.  Grab bars in the tub aren’t just for the elderly.  Falls in the tub are the leading cause of injuries in the bathroom for toddlers.  Every year, children die falling out of windows.  Install stops or wedges to prevent them from being open more than 4”

Monitor your doors and windows – Toddlers, autistic children and seniors with Alzheimer’s all have the tendency to wander out of the home.  Whether it’s to alert a caretaker of a family member leaving the house or to prevent an intruder from entering, it’s critical to have sensors on all of your doors and windows which will emit a sound if they are open.

Be prepared for fire – When choosing a fire extinguisher, you must consider the room for which it may have to be used.  There is a color-coded box on each fire extinguisher identifying which classes of fire it can be used for, and the type of fire extinguishing agent it contains.  Be sure that all of your smoke detectors are connected so that if one goes off they all will.

 

Daylight

Daylight Savings Safety Tips

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

This week marks the beginning of daylight savings time and in a few short weeks spring will officially be here which makes me a happy camper!

I love getting outside after dinner to play with the kids and not worrying about bundling up in heavy clothes.  Of course there are still those “surprise” days where my kids plan on going to school in shorts and a T-shirt only to figure out that it’s still pretty cold in the mornings.

With the change in daylight and the change in temperature here are a few safety tips and savings tip as we head into spring:

Kids are walking out to the bus in the dark – If you don’t have driveway lights or automatic motion sensors for your lights it’s something you should consider.  It’s important that your kids can see and be seen.

Illuminate the play areas –Be sure that backyard play areas, pools and long driveways are well illuminated to prevent injuries when riding bicycles, playing sports or simply hanging out.

Manage your indoor lights and thermostats to save $$ – When it’s still dark out leaving for work, it’s easy to forget to switch lights off.  It’s also more likely that you’ll leave your thermostat turned up after a chilly night.  COX Homelife allows you to manage this from your smartphone, laptop or tablet to turn off lights and change the temperature remotely.  You can also schedule lights to go on in the evening before you get home.

Finally, even though we always hear reminders to change our batteries in our smoke detectors and CO detectors when we change our clocks, it’s easy to forget or ignore.  Don’t!  This one simple move could literally save your life.

 

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

This winter is starting with some intense weather for certain parts of the country.  Between a rare January hurricane, tornadoes in the South, El Nino in the West and blizzards in the North it seems inevitable that at some point this season we’re going to have to deal with power outages.  One of the greatest dangers during a power outage is the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning from attempting to heat your home or light it using alternative sources.  Carbon monoxide is a danger to millions of people, and it’s the leading cause of unintentional poisoning across the U.S.  The Centers for Disease Control estimate that carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives and causes more than 15,000 visits to hospital emergency departments annually. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer.  It is an odorless, colorless gas, so people don’t know when there’s an issue until they are already experiencing symptoms.

Here are some important tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning during a power outage or any time:

CO2

  • Never run a generator inside a garage or outside near doors or windows. Be sure that the generator is not overloaded with could be a potential fire hazard.
  • Don’t try to heat your home using an appliance such as your oven or a barbecue.
  • If you’re using a wood burning fireplace, be sure the flue is open and keep a window open as well for additional ventilation.
  • Check fresh air intakes to furnaces and chimney to be sure they’re not plugged by snow, leaves or bird nests. You should also check your dryer vent on a regular basis.
  • Place carbon monoxide detectors that plug in to the wall, and have a battery back-up outside every bedroom and one on each floor, particularly near the furnace and laundry area. COX Homelife offers carbon monoxide monitoring in addition to water/flood monitoring and smoke/heat detection with battery and cellular network back-up.
  • Recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning which are nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, dizziness, blurred vision, headaches and fainting.

 

FireSafetyMonthDisclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

October is fire safety month, and most schools will be talking to our kids about what to do in case of a fire.  But how many of us really practice this at home? A recent survey by COX Homelife found that only 63% of homeowners have an fire safety emergency evacuation plan and only 49% of those have practiced it in the past year.

Take some time in the coming weeks and put together an emergency evacuation plan and practice it! Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Having properly installed smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a reported fire by half.  Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on every level of the home.  Consider purchasing one with an escape light built in as well.  Put a note on the calendar to test the smoke alarm on the first of every month.
  • Keep fire extinguishers in various places around your home including the kitchen, garage, near the furnace and near any fireplace. Be sure you know how to use proper fire extinguisher for each situation.
  • If you are using a portable space heater, be sure it has built-in safety features, such as automatic shutoffs, anti-tipping devices and heat guards.
  • Purchase a 2-Story Emergency Fire Escape Ladder and keep it somewhere in or near your bedroom.
  • Teach your children never to try and put out a fire themselves but to leave the house immediately and call 911 from a neighbor’s home.
  • Take them to a fire department to see what a fire fighter looks like with the mask and all of his equipment on.  A child could be fearful of him and actually hide in a fire.

Cox Homelife-Home Escape on Back BurnerHave a fire drill once every few months so that everyone can practice.  Be sure you have two exits established in case one is blocked and practice by crawling on your hands and knees, counting how many “hands” it takes to get to the exit.  When a fire occurs the smoke makes it impossible to see and it could be necessary to crawl to the exit.

 

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

This week my kids are on spring vacation and, since I need to work, that means finding playdates and other activities to keep them busy.  Fortunately my oldest daughter is at an age where she can stay home alone for a few hours but it’s always in the back of my head wondering if she’s OK by herself.

There’s no hard and fast rule for what age is appropriate to leave your child home alone but over 10 year’s old is best.  Even then, only you know if your child is mature enough to stay calm in an emergency and know how to handle unplanned events.

Before leaving your ‘tween home alone here are some things to review with him or her:

Don’t announce it on social media – Establish ground rules as to whether your ‘tween can have friends over when you’re out.  Tell them to never post on social media that they’re home alone.  Not only is this a potential home invasion risk but an invitation for all of their friends to come over for an impromptu party.  With a home monitoring system such as COX Homelife, parents can be alerted on their smart phone or tablet every time someone comes in or out of the door.  Additionally, motion sensor cameras can be set up to see who is going in or out.

Show them where the circuit panel is – Show your ‘tween where the circuit panel is and how to identify a tripped circuit.   If a switch continues to trip or the appliance she was using continues to shut down, she shouldn’t reset the circuit as it could mean there’s an electrical hazard.  Explain to your ‘tween that if she smells smoke but doesn’t see a fire, it could mean that there is a fire behind the wall.  She should call 911 immediately.

What to do if a stranger comes to the door – Unfortunately home invasions are a reality.  Your ‘tween should never answer the door to anyone.  If you have requested that someone come over to check on her, send a text to your child alerting them to the fact and establish a password with the person for when they come to the door.   Make sure your ‘tween knows the code for your alarm system, how to reset it and how to use the panic mode.  Cox Homelife provides a silent alarm feature that can be activated through the key fob, the keypad and the touchscreen. The alarm is sent to the central monitoring service (CMS) for police assistance. CMS calls the associated phone to confirm the alarm and, if there is no answer, police are dispatched.

In an emergency the first call is 911 – For our ‘tweens, the natural instinct is to first call mom or dad in an emergency but teach them that the first call always should be 911.  Discuss with them various emergency scenarios such as a fire or an injury.  Are they aware of what to do in each situation?  Practice two different escape plans in the event of a fire and designate a neighbor’s home as the meeting place.  Remind your ‘tween to NEVER attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water!  While baking soda can put out a grease fire it takes a lot of it and the fire can get out of control very quickly.   Be sure your child is CPR and First Aid certified and review how to handle minor injuries.