Improve your home safety today

17 cheap, efficient ways to improve safety in your car and home

The National Safety Council wants you to know you could be murdered tomorrow, but you’re far more likely to die by accident.

June is National Safety Month, and the nonprofit is promoting it with lots of helpful ways not to suffer an untimely demise. “Every four minutes someone in the U.S dies from an unintentional injury,” the NSC says. “Sixty-seven percent of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. are due to unintentional causes, compared to just 9 percent due to homicide.”

It goes on to cite some stats from 2012…

  • 36,900 deaths from poisoning (including prescription drug abuse)
  • 36,300 deaths from car crashes (26 percent of which involved cell phone use)
  • 27,800 deaths from falls (mainly among the elderly)

Even where safety incidents don’t cause death, they’re expensive: “The cost of unintentional injuries to Americans and their employers exceeds $793 billion nationally and are paid in the form of taxes, insurance premiums, medical costs, property damage, lost wages and productivity,” the NSC says.

When talks about living within your means, this isn’t exactly what we had in mind — but it’s definitely worth talking about. So here are 17 tips to frugally improve your car and home safety…

  1.  Throw out leftover or expired prescription drugs and keep current medications in a safe place. Cost: 5 minutes/month.
  2. Childproof cabinets with safety locks, especially those with cleaning supplies or tools. Cost: $2-5 each.
  3. Put your phone on silent and ignore it while driving. Cost: Free.
  4. If you really have to stay connected, use an app that reads incoming email and texts allowed, like DriveSafe.lyCost: $0-14.
  5. For calls on the road, it’s best to pull over or at least get a hands-free Bluetooth car kitCost: $40 or more.
  6. Keep an emergency kit in your car. Cost: $25.
  7. Get a step stool — preferably with rails — for reaching high places. Cost: $25.
  8. Install a grab bar for the bathtub. Cost: $22.
  9. Get a nonslip bathtub matCost: $13.
  10. Secure carpets from sliding with velcrodouble-sided tape or sticky pads depending on the surface. Cost: $15 or less.
  11. Buy rubber padding to soften or blunt sharp edges on furniture. Cost: $25 or less for a roll of edge guard.
  12. Babyproof electrical outlets with sliding coversCost: $9 for three.
  13. Test your smoke detectors monthly, and change the batteries annually. Cost: Under $5.
  14. Get nightlights, especially for near steps and immovable obstacles. Cost: $3-4 each.
  15. Keep multiple flashlights in places you could find in the dark — maybe on top of the fridge, in a bathroom cabinet, in a nightstand drawer. Cost: Under $10 each.
  16. Know the difference between a power strip and a surge protector, and don’t daisy chain them. Cost: 5 minutes to learn.
  17. Regularly run through a home safety checklist for problems you might be forgetting about. Cost: Half an hour per month.


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