As Americans travel this summer, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants to remind consumers to check for safety features when staying at a vacation rental home. Before signing the rental agreement, consumers should verify that the property has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and at least one fire extinguisher. If there is a pool or a residential elevator, take extra precautions to keep kids safe during the stay. Unfamiliar homes can present dangers to your family.
The following safety tips can help to keep a vacation free of hazards and enjoyable:
Check with the property manager to verify the property has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed and working, as well as at least one fire extinguisher.
- Be sure to have a fire escape plan that includes two ways out of each room.
- CPSC estimates there were an annual average of 362,000 unintentional residential fires, resulting in about 2,370 deaths and 10,390 injuries each year from 2016 through 2018.
Child drownings are the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4 years old in the United States. Across 2017 through 2019, on average, there were 389 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings reported per year involving children younger than 15 years of age, and there were 6,800 hospital emergency department-treated, nonfatal-drowning injuries in 2021 involving children under 15 years of age.
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water.
- Ask the property manager about proper pool barriers, covers and alarms around the pool or spa, and use them consistently.
- Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.
- Make sure children learn how to swim.
- Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapment.
Residential Elevator Safety
Homes with residential elevators can be a danger to small children if the gap between the elevator door and the access door inside the home is greater than four inches deep. Small children have been entrapped between the two doors, suffering skull and vertebrae fractures, traumatic asphyxia and death from crushing injuries due to the deadly gap. In fact, residential elevators were linked to 4,600 injuries and 27 deaths from 1981 through 2021.
- Keep children from playing with or around residential elevators.
- Ask the property manager to lock all access doors to the elevator so children cannot enter.
Furniture and TVs, sleep spaces, poisons and window blind cords
Furniture and Television Tip-overs: From 2018 through 2020, there was an estimated annual average of 22,500 furniture, TV and appliance tip-over injuries treated at U.S. hospital emergency-departments, 44% involving children under 18 years of age.
- Before renting, check with the property manager to make sure that furniture is anchored to the wall. Don’t let children climb on furniture, and don’t place toys and tv remotes where children might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.
Safe Sleep: Babies spend most of their time sleeping.
- Bare is Best: Always keep the baby’s sleep space bare (fitted sheet only) to prevent suffocation. Do not use pillows, padded crib bumpers, quilts or comforters.
- Only place the baby to sleep in a product that is intended for sleep. Transfer the baby to a crib, bassinet, play yard or bedside sleeper if the baby falls asleep in a swing, bouncer, lounger or similar product.
- Keep cleaning supplies in a locked cabinet or out of reach of children
- Keep all window cords out of reach of children. They can be a strangulation hazard.
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