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NEWS and NOTES: >> Celebrate National Safety Month at Home:

Ten Tips for Turning Home ‘Sweet’ Home to Home ‘Safe’ Home

HIGH POINT, N.C. – With more and more consumers enjoying the increased amount of time they are spending at home, it is not surprising that they want to be sure their homes are as safe as possible.

"Celebrating National Safety Month in June affords the perfect opportunity to recall the practical ways to be sure our homes are comfortable, stylish and safe," said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.

To help consumers avoid accidents at home, the American Home Furnishings Alliance offers the following tips to improve the safety of your home:

  • Handle family clutter and its potential build-up by choosing functional furniture with maximum storage capabilities. Many of the popular ottomans open to reveal usable space, and storage baskets have become a basic accessory for bookshelves and coffee tables.
  • Open only one drawer of a dresser or chest at a time, and never allow children or pets to crawl into open drawers. When selecting children’s furniture, shop for automatic drawer stops that prevent a drawer from falling out of the cabinet.
  • Measure baby crib slats and spindles to be sure that they are spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. Check that all screws, brackets and hardware are installed correctly, and choose a mattress that fits snugly within the frame.
  • Eliminate the danger of furniture tipover by not overloading bookcase shelves. Consider anchoring the top part of the unit to the wall for extra security.
  • Save bunk beds for children at least six years old or older. Shop for a style with sturdy guardrails on each side of the top bunk, with no more than 15 inches open at each end, and provide a well-built ladder to access the top bunk. Make a house rule that only allows one person on the top bunk at a time.
  • Always keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, and place candles where they cannot be knocked over.
  • Furnish your home with upholstery carrying the gold UFAC tag that ensures the manufacturer of the furniture has agreed to meet the construction criteria outlined by the Upholstered Furniture Action Council. The voluntary UFAC program, developed 23 years ago, has been credited with contributing to the nearly 80% reduction in the number of upholstered furniture fires started by smoldering cigarettes. The gold tag ensures you’re buying a safer piece of furniture.
  • Exercise caution when opening or closing a sofa-sleeper or recliner, and keep hands and feet clear of mechanisms. Do not allow children to open or play on a recliner, sofa-sleeper or trundle bed.
  • Take inventory of all your television and electronics equipment, videos, DVDs and games before choosing a TV stand or a home entertainment center that adequately houses all of the components and has enough space for storage.
  • Yield to a bi-annual schedule of replacing the batteries in all of the smoke detectors in your home. An easy reminder is to install new batteries each spring and fall when adjusting clocks to time changes.

Choosing furnishings wisely and with safety in mind will ensure that you and your family have a safe, happy and comfortable home all year long.

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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.