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NEWS and NOTES: >> Home Safe Home:

American Home Furnishings Alliance Offers ABCs for Safe Home Furnishings

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Home Sweet Home has taken on new meaning for today’s consumers, and as Americans increasingly turn to their homes as havens for enjoying their family and friends, they are looking for these comfort zones to not only be comfortable and inviting, but safe and secure as well.

To help ensure that Home Sweet Home is also Home Safe Home, the American Home Furnishings Alliance offers the following ABCs for safe home furnishings:

  • A is for awareness, which can help prevent accidents in the home.
  • B is for bunk beds, a good choice for children 6 and older, but not recommended for children under 6.
  • C is for cribs, the best place for your baby to sleep. Make sure slats or spindles are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart and that none are loose or missing. The mattress should be firm and fit snugly in the crib.
  • D is for drawers, great for stashing your stuff, but terrible as a stepping stool. To prevent tipover, never allow children to climb in drawers or open more than one at a time. Automatic drawer stops, which keep drawers from falling out on unsuspecting feet, are often a good feature, especially if children are in the home.
  • E is for entertainment center, the perfect place to house your new TV. Just be sure it’s the right size so that the TV is properly supported and won’t fall forward.
  • F is for falls, a leading cause of injuries and deaths in the home. Particularly vulnerable are the elderly and young children. To lessen the likelihood of falls, eliminate clutter, be sure rugs have slip-resistant pads, keep electrical cords out of walkways and clean up spills immediately.
  • G is for guardrails. Bunk beds should have guardrails on each side of the top bunk, with the side against the wall or opposite the ladder running the full length of the bed. The other rail should have no more than 15 inches open at each end. Rails should be secure and sturdy and should extend at least 5 inches above the top of the mattress.
  • H is for height, which you should consider in bookcases and dressers. If the piece is taller than it is wide, you may want to secure it to the wall to prevent tipover, especially if young children are in the home. And bookcases should never be overloaded, particularly on top.
  • I is for ideal. Remember that the ideal furnishings for your home are not only comfortable and beautiful, but safe as well.
  • J is for joiners. It’s a good idea to check periodically to make sure all screws, bolts, brackets and other joiners on your furniture are tight and secure.
  • K is for kids, who love to play but who should never be allowed to play or climb on furniture, especially on bunk beds, dressers or open reclining chairs.
  • L is for lids and latches. Toy and storage chests should have safety latches that prevent the lid from falling freely or slamming shut on fingers or a child’s head. Lids should not lock automatically. If you have an older chest without a safety latch, contact the manufacturer for a replacement latch, or remove the lid.
  • M is for matches, which should be kept away from children. Children playing with matches or lighters are the second leading cause of fires in the home, behind cooking accidents. Careless smoking is the third leading cause of fires.
  • N is for nighttime, when it gets dark. When the sun goes down, lighting should come on. Use a variety of floor and table lamps, as well as ceiling and wall fixtures, to ensure that your home is well-lit so people can move around safely. Candles are a nice touch for evening, but use caution near upholstery and bedding.
  • O is for old, which could be dangerous. Be sure older pieces of furniture do not contain lead paint that is flaking. Also check for sturdiness and stability.
  • P is for pathways, which should be clutter free and well-lit, both inside and outside the home. Furniture should be arranged to allow easy walk through.
  • Q is for quality. Buy the best you can afford – for safety’s sake. Quality furniture, regardless of price range, is manufactured with safety in mind.
  • R is for recliner, a comfortable seat, but one that requires caution. Only one adult should sit in a recliner at a time, and children should never be allowed to play on or around a recliner. To prevent cuts and lacerations, do not put your hands or fingers under the mechanism to operate the chair.
  • S is for supervision, for which there is no substitute. No matter how safe the products in your home are, small children should always be supervised by a responsible adult.
  • T is for temptation, which should be avoided. To prevent tempting your children to climb on furniture, do not place enticing objects on tops of dressers or bookcases.
  • U is for UFAC, the Upholstered Furniture Action Council. When buying new upholstered furniture, look for the gold UFAC tag ensuring that the manufacturer has agreed to meet UFAC’s construction criteria. The voluntary UFAC program has been credited with contributing to a nearly 80% reduction in the number of upholstered furniture fires started by smoldering cigarettes.
  • V is for vigilant, which is what you should be when it comes to home safety.
  • W is for windows, which provide a wonderful view. But furniture, especially children’s beds, should not be placed near windows where children can climb or fall out.
  • X is for X-ing out accidents in your home. Following these simple ABC tips will lead you on your way to safety at home.
  • Y is for yawning, leading us to …
  • Z, which is for the great ZZZs you’ll catch when you know your family is safe at home.

For information on furniture styles, trends and shopping tips, log on to AHFA’s new website for consumers, www.findyourfurniture.com.

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The American Home Furnishings Alliance is headquartered in High Point, N.C. – the furniture capital of the world – and represents more than 200 leading U.S. furniture manufacturers and 250 suppliers to the industry.