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Keep Your Whole Family Safe and Healthy

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Author: ARA

Playing it Safe for the Whole Family

(ARA) - You've taught your kids to look both ways before crossing the street, and your parents not to give their credit card number to telephone solicitors. But if you're like most Americans, keeping your family healthy and safe is a daily, life-long challenge.

      "From sharing healthful, nutritious meals and regular exercise, to making your home toddler-friendly and senior-safe, there are numerous ways to help your family enjoy a happy, healthy and safe life," says Dr. Robert Berkow, editor in chief of "Your Health Now," a consumer health magazine published by Merck & Co., Inc.

      You probably already have the basics under control - such as cleaning solutions and other dangerous household items safely out of reach of your young child, and emergency numbers posted by the telephone. The experts at "Your Health Now" offer the following tips to help people ensure their safety in a variety of situations:

For Your Kids

      Crib Notes. Recalled - and thus hazardous - children's products and toys are often sold on auction Web sites, according to a study at Columbus Children's Research Institute. To size up the safety of secondhand gear, plug in the product you're considering for purchase at the Web site www.recalls.gov. Any product with a recall will be revealed.

      Simple SIDS Safeguard. In addition to putting your baby to sleep on her back, you might consider supplying a pacifier. New research has found that doing so can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome - the cause of approximately 3,000 deaths every year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children up to age 1 be offered a pacifier both overnight and at naptime. Nursing moms should wait until breastfeeding is well-established before offering a pacifier.

For Your Parents

      Better Balance. As few as eight weeks of tai chi training can improve balance and flexibility and increase confidence in the frailest elderly, potentially reducing risk of falls, according to several recent studies. Check to see if your local YMCA or hospital offers classes.

      Assisted-Care Caution. Some assisted-living facilities still fail to meet federal safety and quality requirements, according to a recent report by the General Accounting office. Compare inspection reports for facilities and home health agencies at www.medicare.gov.

Around Your House

      Powerful Connections. It's a no-brainer to install smoke alarms in your home. But now consider new, more effective models: A recent Consumer Product Safety Commission study suggests that interconnecting alarms - when all the detectors in your home sound simultaneously, rather than just the one in the room where smoke is present - may provide extra time to flee to safety.

While You're Driving

      Lifesaving Seats. Reduce your child's chance of being hurt should your family be involved in an auto accident by following these national guidelines - even if the state where you live has less stringent ones. Babies and toddlers require child-safety seats. Because an alarming 85 percent of them are installed incorrectly, look for a certified technician to inspect your installation at www.seatcheck.org.

      Children ages 4 to 8 are safest in booster seats, yet less than 20 percent of kids in that age group use them. When kids outgrow booster seats (at age 8 or when they're 4 feet 9 inches tall), insist that they sit in the backseat of the car with their seat belts on, of course - for every ride until they turn 13.

      The Flip Side. Before you "flip" over a new car, see how likely it could flip over you. Some new vehicles are far more likely to roll over in the event of a crash than others, according to a government study of 40-plus 2006 models. Find the list of least likely to roll at www.safercar.gov.

      For more ways to keep your family healthy and safe, visit YourHealthNow.com. To sign up for a free subscription, call (888) MERCK-38.

Courtesy of ARA Content
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