Traveling With Children: 8 Safety Tips All Parents Should Know

The gift of travel is one of the best things you can give your family. The experience and the new knowledge that everyone gains is simply priceless. However, if you’re a parent traveling with little kids, it can also be exhausting and stressful if you’re not prepared.

Family vacations require meticulous planning, particularly with curious and quickly-bored kids in tow. From finding the right places to visit, to eat, to sleep, every parent’s goal is to make the trip as fruitful and enjoyable as possible while keeping everybody safe. Here are 8 safety tips all parents should know before booking those tickets with children.

  1. Do your research

Every vacation destination is appealing but not everything is child-friendly. Before you book those flights and accommodations, find out first if the place offers anything that the kids will enjoy. There are plenty of resources online and some even offer actual visitor reviews so you can definitely plan a trip that provides an equal share of fun for the adults and the young ones. Another thing that you should research on is the area’s safety issues. Is the crime rate high where you’re going? Is there an outbreak currently happening? These are crucial factors that should go into choosing where to go.

  1. Your itinerary should be child-friendly

Traveling with children calls for compromise. While they can’t do everything that you want to explore, you can plan in advance and make an itinerary that includes them and that both age groups will enjoy. You can find out online or ask the hotel if they have kids’ activities offered. Some hotels have “day use” programs designed for children that involves sports, art, and other learning activities. That way, while the grownups have their fun, the children can stay at the resort and enjoy, as well.

  1. Orient the kids with safety and emergency procedures

You never know when an emergency might happen while your family is on vacation. While you can’t predict what will happen, it helps to get your kids familiar with the basics. Practice with your children what they should do if a distressing incident happens. You can tell them to ask for help from uniformed personnel or another parent with kids. Alternatively, you can advise them to stay where they or go to a specific spot to meet you.

Practice makes perfect, so be sure to go over these instructions with your children several times so they remember it. To be sure, have them repeat it back to you so you can verify if they have understood what you said. You can also point out where there nearest community building or police station/outpost is so they can see where they can call for help.

  1. Keep them busy and entertained

There’s a higher chance that kids will give you meltdowns if they are bored. So, make sure you always give them something to do. Little kids are, no doubt, adorable, but they can also be really mischievous. Bring small toys or art kits with you when you travel, or be ready with movies or downloaded games they can watch and play on your gadget during those long waits. Or you can have them take a nap!

  1. Track your children

Curious kids are prone to pulling those heart-stopping disappearing acts. To prevent this hassle, you can have them wear tracking devices so you’ll know exactly when they’ve strayed from the group and where to find them. Now your family can get into the busy sections of the night market and crowded tourist attractions without you worrying constantly where your children are. These wearable gadgets come in cute designs and colors that your children won’t know it’s your way to monitoring them. Some even play music and have games built in.

  1. Make information cards or IDs

Have your kids wear IDs or keep information cards in their pocket in case they do get lost. These should contain your names, contact numbers, and anything else that can be used to reach you. Make sure to update these cards when you change destinations.

  1. Bring a medical kit and some snacks

Scrapes, bumps, and falls are normal when you have kids, so having a medical kit always with you is a smart decision when on vacation. Put in Band-Aids, mild painkillers, disinfectant sprays, and other medical essentials so you’re always ready for anything. If your child requires special attention, make sure that you’ve packed all his or her meds, as well (plus backup).

More importantly, always bring water and some snacks. Kids get thirsty and hungry at the most awkward times. Arming yourself with their essentials ensure that they stay calm and satisfied. You don’t want your kid wailing for treats when you’re all waiting in line for a ride at a theme park.

  1. Check your insurance

Go over your insurance policy and find out if it offers coverage for trips aboard, or even just local trips. If you don’t see anything travel-related on print, it’s worth calling up your insurer to ask about it. You might not think that insurance is necessary for vacations but you’ll be thankful that you included it in your planning should something untoward does happen. In its absence, you can also avail of supplemental insurance. Also check the hospitals where you will be going and find out if they take your insurance. Although nobody wants to dwell on the negative when planning a vacation, it pays to be on the safe side, especially since you’ll be traveling with children.

Overall, always have a Plan B. As parents, the key to an enjoyable vacation with children in tow is to prepare for the worst. That way, when something does happen, you know your heart won’t jump out of your throat because you’re confidently well equipped. Compared to traveling with grownups, trips with kids require extra research and readiness. Don’t fret too much over all the planning that you need to do. When you see those smiles and all the fun everyone is having, everything will be worth it.

10 Ways To Make Your Home Safer For Older Family Members

You want to have a home that is seen as a place of refuge by all members of the family, regardless of age. As our loved ones age, you will need to make some changes to how your spaces are laid out to keep everybody happy, healthy, and safe. Whether you are preparing your home for the coming of elderly family members or just want to ensure that their visits are enjoyable, there are simple and easy updates you can make to ensure security.

One of the most common issues that ageing people face is limited mobility. Thus, when revising your home, you should focus on home safety measures that also preserve their independence. Here are 10 tips on upgrading your house to make each room senior-friendly.

  1. Secure all your rugs

Use grip tapes or non-slip backings to secure area rugs to their place. There are plenty of affordable solutions that are a breeze to install. In addition to ensuring that your rugs don’t move, gel-based grippers also help in keeping them from curling or running. These items can be reactivated using water if you need to remove it temporarily when cleaning. Gel grippers are a popular choice for backing loose rugs because they do not leave residue and marks on the floor. They also work on rugs that are placed on top of carpeting.

  1. Replace or fix dangerous flooring

Elderly members usually drag their feet when walking and have balance issues. Thus, slick surfaces like tiles and hardwood, as well as high-pile carpets, are a huge no-no. These potentially hazardous elements can cause slips and falls. If your parents or grandparents are moving to your home, you might want to redo your risky floors. Replace carpets with low-pile varieties and take note of the slip rating of certain floor materials to ensure that those areas that see high traffic are as safe as can be.

  1. Make the stairs easier to climb

Avoid stair-related accidents by adding elements to your stairs that add extra grip. You can install grip tape to bare stairs. There are also non-slip mats that work nicely on the steps with or without carpeting. If an elderly family member is moving in, it is unavoidable that he or she uses the stairs. If your budget permits, you can install a stair-assist chair or stair lifts with adjustable seats to help make going up and down so much easier and faster for the seniors.

  1. Make passageways well lighted

Ideally, senior citizens will not have to climb and down the stairs. If you have a spare room at the ground level or can convert your TV room to accommodate guests, that’s where they should be. In any case, you must provide adequate lighting on all staircases, hallways, and passageways so they can clearly see where they are going, even without glasses on. You can install motion sensor lighting that turn on only when movement is detected. These types of lights are easy to install and will not put a huge dent on your electricity bill.

  1. Install hand rails and grab bars

Handrails and grab bars are two of easiest ways to boost your home’s safety for elderly members. Hallways, stairs, bathrooms, and even bedrooms should have these because it will help keep the seniors moving around more securely. Grab bars are made of different materials and can accommodate varying weights. They provide additional stability in the shower, in the bath, near the toilet, or anywhere else. They are also easy to install at any angle of your choosing.

  1. Add a shower bench to bath

A shower stool or bench lets your elderly members enjoy a bath independently while lowering the risk for slips and falls. Many bench models can stand on their own in the bathroom, but a transfer bench provides added security as the user gets inside or exits the shower. Before buying a bench, check first its maximum weight capacity to ensure that your senior family member is accommodated safely. This bench is also useful for individuals with limited mobility or those just recovering from an injury or surgery.

  1. Change the tub to a walk-in type

If your elderly family member is staying for an indefinite period (or permanently) you might want to consider upgrading your regular bathtub to a walk-in type. It also affords your loved ones a safe and convenient way to bathe independently. Before buying a new tub, make sure that is compliant with the guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Walk-in bathtubs are also great for the rest of your household.

  1. Install bed rails

Bed rails assist elderly members as they get in and out of the bed. There are plenty of accessory options in the market, most of which are very easy to install. Most rails are simply fit between mattresses and box springs. Some even come with pockets to hold magazines, books, or anything else that seniors need to have on hand. Bed rails are also useful for people with limited mobility who need to change sleeping positions on their own. Whether it’s installed for permanent support or as a temporary acessory following a surgery, this will help ensure safety during bedtime.

  1. Install a security system

It might seem too much, but you can’t really go wrong with the added comfort that you and your elderly family members need. There are security systems that project videos in real time to your smartphone so you can check on your loved ones anytime you want. You can also pre-set the system to send out alerts in case somebody unexpectedly leaves your home or steps on the yard. Security devices are particularly useful if your senior members are prone to wandering off or have memory loss problems.

  1. Use home automation

An automated home is not just for your convenience, it also helps secure your elderly members. For example, a smart thermostat controller can automatically adjust the air conditioner or heater to keep your loved ones comfortable. Automated lights can also be remotely operated or pre-set to turn off and on at specific times of the day. If you’re unsure what type of home automation device to get, you can start with simple systems that offer both temperature and lighting features to turn your home into a safer space for everyone.

Overall, keeping your home safe is crucial if you have elderly family members. Set your home up to make them feel welcome and calm by taking into consideration the kinds of assistance they need. Start by applying simple home upgrades and then you can decide to fully automate next time as you get more accustomed to the technology.

5 Types of Businesses That Need Security Systems The Most

Given today’s threats, businesses should have security systems in place to protect their investments and themselves. One of the biggest security issues that entrepreneurs face, no matter the type of business, is thievery. Whether it’s shoplifting, a burglary, or any type of theft, any business that has money or goods onsite is a potential target.

There are, however, specific types of businesses that are more attractive to burglars compared to others. For obvious reasons, these stores are considered lucrative targets because of the high value of the items that are kept in the premises. It could also be because of the large amounts of money being exchanged on site. In addition, even with not too many valuables in store, businesses that have little to no security protection set up are also viewed as easy targets.

In any case, there are certain types of businesses that require more advanced security systems because they are favorite targets. Some are even so prone to burglaries that they need to have securty staff posted on site. Here are some of the stores that get the most attention from thieves.

 

  1. Jewelry shops

Jewelry stores are a massive target because of the value of the pieces they keep at their site. Burglars know that your items are more than just the ones on display and that you may have the more expensive piece in a vault, making your business all the more attractive. Thus, there is no doubt about the need to have a comprehensive security system for the protection of the stocks and for the personnel.

Even the small jewelry shops necessitate a security system. While these stores operate at a smaller scale and may have lower priced items in stock, being lax with security measures still makes them a viable target.

  1. Banks

There is no argument to this. Banks, big or small, should have a thorough security system in place, not just in terms of technology but also on-site guards. Dealing with huge amounts of cash will always make banks a target. Granted, trying to steal from banks is too risky for thieves, but because the monetary gains are so high, some are willing to go forward and take the risk.

  1. Retail stores

Retailers are often the target of shoplifters, if not hijackers or hold-uppers. This is because the stocks are displayed in the open and there are only so many staff to look around. Small items can be easily stuffed into pockets and purses, and some products aren’t even attached with security beepers to alert personnel if you’re trying to sneak something out.

Retailers are also a favorite of robbers because of the amount of cash that goes into the register all day. These stores are not just restricted to department store brands. They can also cover supermarkets, convenience stores, clothing outlets, and more.

  1. Distribution centers and warehouses

Any establishment that holds huge amounts of valuable stock on site will need ample security systems set up. This is particularly true for warehouses and distribution centers because they tend to bulk numbers of high-value items, such as electronics, appliances, and limited edition toys, and other valuable goods. One of the biggest issues with these large storage spaces is that there often blind spots. This means that one of the threats to security can come from inside, thus making the need to install security systems all the more urgent.

  1. Money changers and remittance centers

The amount of cash exchange in money changing outlets is enough to make burglars see stars. People go in and out of these small stores and often there’s no security personnel posted save for a single camera. Remittance centers, in particular, are always ready with a large amount of cash in case a customer walks in and needs to claim money or exchange their notes for another currency. For this type of business, it’s not enough to have a view cam installed. The premises should have several set up at strategic places as well as on-site security guards to provide added safety.

What Do Thieves Look For?

Some of the factors that thieves consider when looking for a target include how much cash stays in the premises, the presence of expensive goods, operating times (shops that open late are easier targets), the presence of on-site security personnel, and the number of employees inside the store at any given time. In short, regardless of the type of business you are in, if thieves see that you don’t have any security systems set up, you will definitely be their next victim.

If you own a business and are concerned about its security, it’s best to get in touch with professional security providers to get advice on the best type of setup for your specific needs. You might be asked to hire personnel to keep you safe on site or to install cameras, alarms, and the like at the premises. Some security services also provide you with a sort of panic button that lets you send a signal to the local police if you find yourself in distress or are threatened by a burglar.

As an added precaution, you might also want to rethink the way you hire your staff. Most store burglaries are inside jobs; either your employee himself or herself steals or he/she tips an outsider on the best times to come in and take things. Your staff will be the best resource for your “dead” hours and they could exploit that knowledge and take turn on you. Run background checks on applicants and don’t forego checking their references. No matter how much you feel your employees can be trusted, it’s best to be cautious.

Overall, your security needs will depend on the type of business that you own. Regardless if you own a small shop or a high-value operation, the need to put security systems in place is imperative. Talk to your chosen security provider about the most efficient and budget-friendly options available for your peace of mind today.

8 Ways To Ensure Your Kitchen Is Safe

With all the cutting tools, flames, and scalding hot grease that is common to kitchens, it is not surprising that government safety boards list it as the most dangerous room in the household. Every year, emergency rooms log thousands of Americans rushed to the hospital because of kitchen-related injuries. This is why it is imporant for you to put safety measures in place to protect you and your family. Whether you’re a veteran chef or a budding Martha Stewart, the safety tips we will discuss here will give you sound advice on preventing accidents from happening to you.

You don’t want to be the ER’s next kitchen injury statistic. Here are eight ways to ensure that it is a safe space.

  1. Practice Claygo

Clean up immediately everytime you prepare anything in the kitchen, whether it’s a full meal or just a bowl of cereal. If you have kids in the house, or even just clumsy people, it’s very easy to spill something. When it does happen, be sure to wipe the mess up immediately to prevent an accident. Even a small spill or a bit of food presents a risk of falls. Oil and grease are equally dangerous. Make Claygo, or clean-as-you-go, a habit and make sure the rest of the household practices that, as well.

  1. Understand how fire works

Fires are exacerbated with exposure to oxygen, so don’t fan it out or expose it to air even more. What works instantly is smothering it with a pot cover or a wet rag. If you’re facing a fire caused by grease, covering the pan, or putting salt or baking soda will put it out. Never ever use water to put out kitchen fires. If it happens in the microwave, you can manage it by pulling the plug. If it’s in the oven, you can use baking soda or, if you have one, a fire extinguisher.

  1. Believe in the power of your fire extinguisher

The fire extinguisher is probably the most important part of your kitchen, so you don’t downplay its role. In fact, all kitchens should have one. There are smaller fire extinguishers that are suited for small kitchen use. It’s doubly important that you also know how to use it. Don’t just put it on display and not bother to learn how to operate it. Store it in a space that can be easily accessed in the event of an emergency.

  1. Test your smoke detector

According to the US Fire Administration, households that do not have smoke detectors installed have a higher chance of catching fire — and most of these accidents start in the kitchen. The USFA records more than 150,000 fires related to cooking mishaps. Having smoke detectors (that work) is one major step towards early detection and prevention. Some smoke detection systems are built into security systems so why not get the full deal, right? Detectors should also be tested every three months to check their viability.

  1. Be cautious with your accessories and clothes

Your clothes and accessories are a potential fire hazard. Long sleeves, scarves, and long hair can catch fire, jewelry can get caught on handles, and belts can pull cooking pans off the stove. When you’re in the kitchen, pay attention to what you’re wearing and make sure nothing’s hanging loosely. Pan handles should also be turned so they don’t accidentally get caught in your clothes or grabbed your kids or pets.

  1. Steam is very dangerous

Statistics show that over 100,000 emergency room cases in the US are related to scald burns every year. This involves boiling water, hot beverages, faucets with hot features, and even steam. Usually steam isn’t seen as a hazard, but it can actually burn you badly. It’s effect is more severe than freshly boiled water.

When you lift the lid of a pot of boiling water or pull the wrap or cover off something that’s just been microwaved, be very careful. Let members of the family know too. Microwave popcorn is delicious, but they shouldn’t be too quick to open that bag and make sure the opening is facing away from them when they strip it off.

  1. Sanitize everything

In addition to accidents, germs are the biggest threat in the kitchen. Because of the moisture and varying food stuff that go through your kitchen on a daily basis, it is actually a haven for bacteria to thrive (more than any other space in your house). To make sure that your kitchen is not just squeaky clean but also sanitized, clean surfaces with a water and bleach solution as often as you can. There are also organic and environment friendly solutions available to be safer. Cutting boards should be cleaned after each use, while sponges and dishwipes should be replaced often.

  1. Keep children and pets out

Kids enjoy whipping up meals with their parents. To avoid injury, you must orient them properly with the risks for injury. It’s okay to play around in the kitchen, but when there’s something cooking, young children should be kept as far away as possible. Take note that ovens, toasters and the other heating appliances don’t cool down immediately and can present a danger to both children and pets. To be sure, just declare the kitchen as a “no pet zone” or “no kids zone.”

Installing Alarms & Smart Systems

Of course, you can’t always control what goes on in the kitchen, so having a smart home monitoring system can help. It can let you know immediately if there is a change in tempeature, if there’s a fire starting, and if there are restricted doors or drawers being opened. It can even send you alerts if small children are wandering off that space unsupervised. In addition to get alerts in real-time, you can also install cameras so you can get a visual of what’s going on as it happens, even if you’re at the office.

Overall, while having a 100% safe kitchen is not really possible, there are measures that you can set in place to make the risk of accidents and injury a lot smaller. Having precautionary systems installed plus the ability to visually monitor what’s going is important, especially if you have small children, elderly family members, pets, or are generally forgetful.

5 Most Common Household Poisons & What You Can Do To Prevent Them

There is one poison exposure incident reported in the US every 15 seconds which translates to over 2 million cases every year, according to a study by the American Association of Poison Control. That number does include the around 56,000 animal poisoning incidents in the same time frame. This number is huge, but it is not really surprising. Majority of homes contain daily-use products that pose a toxic threat to both humans and animals. When these things are not properly stored, accidental poisoning is bound to happen.

Here is a list of 5 most common household poisons and what you can do to prevent them from hurting you and your loved ones. Do not that there are many other usual everday products that can pose a danger to both human and animal health. So if you do suspect poisoning, it’s always best to call emergency services right away.

  1. Cleaning products

Most cleaning materials contain a range of chemicals that can be accidentally ingested by a curious pet or toddler. Two of the most common ingredients are hydrochloric acid (usually from tub and tile cleaners) and sodium hydroxide (also called lye, usually from oven and drain cleaners). Because they are almost always used, people tend to leave them exposed to make them quicker to access. However, you should know that even inhaling these products can lead to poisoning.

Symptoms of chemical poisoning can vary depending on the type of product. Toilet bowl cleaners, for example, can cause severe abdominal pain, burns in the esophageal lining, and blood in the stool. Drain or oven cleaner poisoning can manifest through difficulty breathing, mouth burns, excessive drooling, and eventually collapse. In the event of accidental ingestion, have the person drink either milk or water immediately, then seek medical help at once.

To prevent these from happening, keep all cleaning products stored in places that cannot be accessed by both kids and pets. If you must store at a low level, you should install kid safety locks or a similar device to doors so they don’t easily get opened. For added safety, you can opt to switch to less toxic products; but, really, it’s all about proper storage. It’s better to spend a little time opening cabinets to get these cleaning products than have to deal with a poisoning issue that threatens life.

  1. Medicines

Statistics show that over 80 percent of deaths related to drug poisoning are accidental, with almost 50 percent caused by an overdose of prescription drugs. The most commonly reported medication poisoning incidents involve oxycodone and hydrocodone, usually found in pain meds. Over-the-counter medications like NSAIDS, too, can be potentially fatal to those who don’t need it. These include the likes of aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.

Painkiller overdose symptoms range from mood swings, nausea, and confusion to breathing difficulties that can lead to death. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. If ingested in large doses, NSAIDs can also caused damage in the kidney and result in seizures and coma. If you suspect medical poisoning, call 911 right away. Try to find out when the drug was ingested and how much was consumed to report to the medical personnel.

To prevent medicine poisoning, follow the instruction to “keep medication away from children and pets at all times.” Better yet, install locks on medicine cabinets so nobody gets access to the drugs without you knowing about it. Always keep pills in the original containers or label them properly and visibly, so no accidents happen. More importantly, if a drug is not prescribed to you, don’t take it. Always get a consult from a doctor first before allowing yourself and a family member to take any medicines.

  1. Insecticides

Insecticides are meant to get rid of common household pests, which means they are toxic to humans. Poisoning can happen by way of inhalation, swallowing, or skin absorption and two of the most commonly reported poisons are organophosphates and carbamates, found in many sprays. To spot a possible insecticide poisoning, watch out for excessive salivation, blurred vision, vomiting, and even seizures. If ingested in large doses, these chemicals can led to an overstimulation in the organs and eventual failure.

If you suspect insecticide poisoning, do not make the person throw up because the chemical will come in contact with your internal organs again. Just seek emergency assistance right away. Medical personnel might use atropine to deal with serious insecticide incidents. If the product came in contact with the skin, immediately wash the affected area and the entire body.

To prevent this, try to use as little insecticide as possible, or switch to the organic, natural options. Insecticides that use pyrethrins are said to be safer because they are made from flower products so they are not as potentially fatal to pets and humans in case of ingestion. If you must use the stronger chemical variants, keep these locked and store away from accidental reach. Ensure that nobody is in the room when you apply these products and avoid using them on enclosed spaces as much as possible.

  1. Topical anesthetics

Topical anesthetics are usually safe when used according to package instructions. They contain ingredients that can numb the skin and tissues in cases on insect bites, sunburn, and sore muscles. However, using more than what is needed or accidentally swallowing even just a small amount can result in poisoning.

Poisoning symptos can include drowsiness, difficulty breathing, a slow heartbeat and seizures. One of the most common topical anesthetic, benzocaine, can cause methemoglobinemia, which is a potentially fatal condition where there a dangerously low amount of oxygen in the blood. Symptoms of this issue include rapid heart rate, headache, and a bluish color in the nails or skin. If you suspect poisoning, call 911 immediately or rush to the nearest hospital.

As a preventive measure, always store anesthetics properly and never use more than what is prescribed. Teething gels can be detrimental to children less than 2 years of age so don’t use them on babies. The safer way to relieve teething pains is to just massage the gums to ease pain or use teething rings.

  1. Laundry or dishwashing products

Accidentally swallowing either liquid or granular detergent is dangerous, but laundry pods pose a much bigger risk of poisoning. US Poison Control lists over 62,000 reports related to their issues, mostly affecting kids ages 6 years and younger. Detergent pods, in particular, because of their pretty packaging and pleasant smell, often get mistaken for candy. Statistics show that around 60 percent of laundry poisoning calls are because of these products.

Symptoms of dishwashing and laundry product poisoning include diarrhea and vomiting. If a pod has been ingested, symptoms could cover vomiting, drowsiness, difficulty breathing. As a preventive measure, keep all cleaning agents stored under lock and key and make sure those pods stay where they should be. Better yet, avoid using these candy-looking pods altogether and opt for the liquid or granular versions.

Who Is At Risk?

Poisoning knows no age, so it’s not just about keeping products away from children’s reach. In fact, adults account for almost 40 percent of accidental poisonings. We recommend keeping all potentially hazardous products kept away and used to a minimum. Better yet, have the entire household switch to the organic materials which may be a lot less dangerous (although still possibly fatal if taken in large amounts).

6 Clever Ways To Hide Your Valuables In Plain Sight

When it comes to keeping your valuables safe, sometimes the simple solutions are the best ones. While it is recommended that you get a safe or install a home security system to safeguard your home and keep precious items under lock and key, being clever also does the trick. To foil a would-be burglar and keep him or her from accessing your valuables, you can get creative with how you store them.

In short, keep them in too common places where they probably won’t even bother to look. You can make use of everyday items to conceal jewelry, money, keys, and other valuable items. When it comes to foiling thieves, hiding things in plain sight can also work. Here are 6 amazing ways you can pull one over the burglar and ensure that your stuff is protected and out of sight.

  1. Stuff them in a towel

This is probably a common practice in your family, especially when you go to the pool or the beach. While this is not the best way to keep the thieves at bay, it is less conspicuous and obvious as putting your valuables in a separate pouch in your bag. You can do the same in the cabinet and choose a towel amongst many in the pile to hide your jewelry or cash.

Burglars often come to a home looking for valuables in drawers or go searching for pouches or jewelry boxes. They likely won’t be looking into towels, unless they have plenty of time to ransack your place (which they often don’t). In a rush, they might try to rummage through your underwear closet, which is one of the most common places where valuables are hidden, and will not have the time or smarts to go through your towels.

  1. Reuse empty containers and bottles

Whether it’s a spice jar or a shampoo bottle, burglars will not have these everyday items a priority when they loot your home. You can either clean the bottles out thoroughly before using them as a keeper of valuables, or wrap your stuff in ziploc before putting them in as protection.

When reusing a condiment jar, what you can do is paint the inside with glue and add herbs or spices again to coat it and give it a “full” appearance. Then you can put your items in ziploc or a plastic bag and put them inside. You can then display the spice jar back in the cupboard and nobody will even bother to look. Alternatively, you can purchase those pre-made trick jars that use the likes of sunscreen bottles, sauce jars, and other common food containers as storage.

  1. Feminine hygiene products

Some guys even refuse to buy feminine products for their girlfriends and wives at the store, so hiding your valuables inside tampon or feminine pad boxes is a great example of hiding in plain sight. Just make sure that the box also contains actual products, at least at the top, so you can safely tuck your jewelry and money inside. If you’re traveling, you can use an empty tampon applicator in a wrapper to hold cash. This helps ensure that those sticky fingers by pickpockets will just graze through them and don’t even bother to open.

  1. Not the trunk and glove box

When you need to store valuables in the car, you have to think out of the box and go beyond the usual glove compartment and trunk. Before you reach your destination or even start traveling, make sure that you have already carefully stashed your stuff. You don’t want people to see you stuffing your gadgets, right?

Also, if you’re carrying small items, you can opt to place them inside a drink cup or an empty soda can. You can actually buy these trick items, which are designed to outsmart the bad guys. Another good location to store items in the car is to place them under the floor mat or between the seat cushions. Here’s a tip: get two identical mats and glue them together while leaving a slot where you can slip items inside.

  1. Sports items

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If you’re outdoors, hiding your valuables inside your bag makes you more prone to thieving. However, if you stuff your money inside say, a tennis ball, nobody would bother to give it a look. Just make a slice in the ball to turn it into a secret storage place for your keys, cash, watch and other small items. It works the same as those plastic coin purses that open up to a hollow space when you squeeze it. The ball will then pop back to its original look and look like a simple ball again to mix with the rest of your stuff. At home, you can do this in that place where you keep your sports equipment. Surely nobody would take the time to sift through extra balls.

  1. Wear them, instead

It’s best to always keep your valuables in your person, especially when you’re out and travelling. So the age-old trick of hiding stuff inside your bra does still work. Keeping them in your pockets is all too common and pickpocketers will definitely prioritize those when they target you. You can also attach a small pouch under your clothes or wear it around your neck or waist like a belt. There are also those nifty spy-like jackets and clothing that are made with secret pockets and other security features to help keep your valuables out of sight.

Of course, more than being smarter than the thief, it’s still safest to install a home security system to prevent these situations from happening in the first place. But just to make sure, when it comes to hiding valuables in plain sight, the trick is to not to overthink. Even the simplest and most common household items can be used as alternative storage. This way, in case a burglar does succeed in getting inside the house, he or she will definitely go out empty-handed.

7 Home Safety Tips For People Who Live Alone

Living alone nowadays seems to be the norm among the younger generation and the numbers are reportedly at their highest now than any other time in history. Recent statistics show that 40 percent of all households in major cities in the US have just one occupant. In highly urbanized cities like Washington and Manhattan, a whopping 50 percent of homes are occupied by solo dwellers.

There are many advantages to living alone. Foremost is freedom. You are the master of the house so you get to decide how things go, what decorations will be used, when you need to clean, and more. Included in this list of responsibilities is personal safety and home security.

Because going solo also affords you the freedom to engage in social activities as you wish, it is highly likely that you will be out of the house more often than when you are in it. Or, if you’re a certified homebody, you likely won’t have anyone around on a daily basis to keep you company in case an emergency occurs. According to recent incident reports, a whopping 49.7 percent of house break-ins usually happen to single occupants.

Here are 7 helpful tips for a solo homeowner or renter to stay safe or keep the house protected when you’re not around.

  1. Know your neighbors

In the age of technology, solo dwellers usually don’t become too familiar with the people who live in the place next door. However, getting to know the people you should a building or a community with helps in ensuring a safe environment not just for you but for the rest of the area, as well.

By being familiar with the people you live with, you can instantly spot the not. That is, point out people who seem to be just lurking around and identifying vehicles that do not belong. If you’re friendlier to your neighbors, you can help each other by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity in each other’s places or in common spaces. You don’t have to be besties with your neighbor if you not the type, but a simple ‘hello’ everytime you pass each other plays a huge role in keeping your little community safe.

  1. Get yourself a dog

Not only will a dog keep you company when you’re by your lonesome, it will also alert you to a stranger lurking in the yard. A pet will also guard your home when you’re not around, thus discouraging would-be burglars from even attempting to enter your space. In your search for man’s best friend, consider your living space and daily routine.

If you have allergies, make sure to get a dog that does not shed. Also take note of a breed’s activity level and size. A good breed to serve as guard would be boxers, great danes, or german shepherds. If these are too big for your home, especially if you’re living in an apartment, you can get the smaller breeds with big barks.

  1. Use smart locks

Hiding a key under the welcome mat, above the door, or the flower pot are all too common. By installing smart locks, you don’t need to worry about misplacing your house keys again. Smart locks are safer than keys because they will likely require your fingerprint or a special numerical code to open. Some other models come with remote controls that let you check if you remembered to lock the door. If you did forget to do so, you can easily tap some buttons on an app to lock it, even if you’re already at the garage or, with the fancier ones, at work.

  1. Install a security camera

Security cams are your second set of eyes when it comes to looking out for your home. They help you check what’s happening in your house even when you’re away. Some features even let you control the direction the camera is pointing and show you a video in real-time even from thousands of miles away. Aside from inside your home, placing a security cam at your front door also helps you see if somebody came by to call on you or if somebody had been lurking around.

  1. Install motion detection lights

Place the burglar under the spotlight and you’ll spook him from ever attempting anything on your home. Motion sensors offer additional safety and serve as an effective deterrent. They also shine light on any attempts to burgle your home before it even gets started. For optimal results, motion detection lights should be positioned near entryways or any space outside your home where a burglar can hide or try to break in.

  1. Consider getting a personal alarm

There are alarm systems and apps that offer additional security whether you’re out on a run by your lonesome or just watching TV at home. These discreet alarms fit nicely in your jewelry or clothing so you can call for help when you need it. Like the regular home alarms, personal devices set off a loud sound when activated, thus calling attention to yourself and forcing assailants to step back. This type of gadget helps ensure that you are protected wherever you go.

  1. Take advantage of backup

Even if you’re always home alone, it helps to keep your friends and family in the loop as to your whereabouts and activities. Keep close friends in on your regular routine and let someone else if there’s a sudden change in this schedule. Set-up regular meet-ups with friends who also live solo so that you guys notice if someone does not show up or goes MIA. If you’re having something fixed in your home and need to open it up to strangers, invite a friend to come hang out for added safety.

There are plenty of good reasons for living alone and, sometimes, it’s better that way. But when it comes to your safety and security, you simply can’t leave things to chance and luck. There are lots of resources available to help give you peace of mind.

Online Dating Safety: 6 Ways To Prevent A Scam

The Internet is increasingly being a legitimate means of meeting someone for a real-life connection. This also applies in the search for Mr and Ms Right. However, sometimes in our excitement to meet and date somebody we met online, we tend to forego personal safety. Take note that while meeting people on the Internet is fun, it can also be potentially dangerous.

It’s very easy to fall prey to a good feeling, especially when you think you’ve met The One. So when the other party invites you to finally meet face to face, you tend to let your guard down thinking that you “know” the other person already. Some people are lucky and end up with either a love connection or a lasting friendship from an online meetup, but some are not so and end up in deep trouble.

How do you ensure that you are safe without hampering your chances of finally meeting the right person for you? Here are eight way to keep in mind at all times in your search for love on the Internet.

  1. Sign up only on reliable and reputable dating sites

There are literally thousands of websites offering to have the right mix of singles that can potentially be the love of your life. And with that vast statistic comes a huge number of fakes and frauds. There are websites that are created for the sole purpose of duping people, so even if you live in a safe neighborhood you can never really be totally protected.

To be on the safe side, depend only on the larger, more reputable dating sites, such as Tinder, OkCupid, JDate, and more, because these sites have a better system and policy in protecting your private information. Of course, being in a reputable and paid dating site is not a full guarantee of your safety, so you still need to be vigilant.

  1. Ensure that your personal information stays private

Being cyber secure is different from being cyber savvy. A detailed Internet search by potential dates will likely reveal your social media accounts, LinkedIn URL, office location, your home address where you “checked in,” or telephone number listed on an ad.

That said, whenever you enter any personal information online, be sure to check those boxes that say your info will be available to you only unless you purposely share it. On virtual platforms, limit the amount of information you reveal about yourself. Your security settings should be set at their maximum level and never ever allow any app to access and post your location.

  1. Do some sleuthing on your potential date

While you shouldn’t be revealing too much about yourself to the other person on the screen, don’t think twice about taking advantage if he or she isn’t protective of his or her info. Google your date, search for his or her social media profiles or if there’s anything posted online about this person. You’ll be surprised by the stories that can get from the results. Some people have found their dates selling an engagement ring on Ebay a few weeks before the Tinder encounter, or revealing how old they really are.

Also, checking their social media posts will give you a better sense of how they really are in person. Because people are less filtered on these platforms, you might spot some traits that are not exactly to your liking, thus, saving you and the other person from wasted time and effort.

  1. Talk to the other person before the meet-up

While it’s very tempting to just schedule a first date, it would be to your advantage if you talk on the phone first so you get a better feel. This is the perfect time to vet the other party and you can even ask some pretty awkward questions to see if he or she is the right fit for you. You can even ask if they’ve ever been arrested before. While you probably won’t get a 100% truth, the way the other person will react to your bold question will send off signals on whether you should push through with an actual meet-up.

  1. Tell a friend

If after the screening and the phone chat you find that you still like to meet this person, you must let somebody know of your plans to do so. Tell a friend or family member who you’re meeting, where it will happen, and what time you are expected to be home. For added safety, show your friend your date’s photo, contact details, and other pertinent information, just in case.

Create a signal with your friend that includes calling you in the middle of the date to check if you’re all right. If you and your date decide to switch locations, check in by phone. Do this until you are finally safe at home. This seems like a lot of work but it will certainly help guarantee your security. More importantly, if this is your first date, drive yourself home and don’t let the other person know where you live — at least not yet.

  1. Seek the safety of a crowd

The first date is a getting-to-know-you stage and while being by yourselves is a romantic way to start things off, it’s not practical. If you both like to go hiking, try those popular walking spots in your community; just don’t go for those remote locations where there’s nobody else and there’s no way to call for help. Better yet, choose a nice coffee shop or a restaurant that offers just the right mix of public and quiet so you can talk.

Reputable dating sites encourage their users to report people who engage in shady practices. This is not just to protect yourself but also to protect other people from possible danger. You can also block a person who is relentless in pursuing you. If after the first date you feel that a second should happen, you should still practice the same safety measures. In fact, because you are meeting a stranger, invites to your home should not happen until after five or more dates have gone by.

Remember that a person who is out to target you will put his or her best foot forward and it is really up to you to catch those signals. If you suspect anything that’s off or something that’s making you feel uneasy, don’t hesitate to cut the cord. If that person starts harrassing you, contact the site’s client services immediately or file a report with the police.

6 Basic Emergency Procedures Everyone In Your Family Should Know

Anybody can be in an emergency situation and the latter can happen at the most unexpected times. This is why it is important for you and the rest of your family to know the basic procedures to handle some of the most common incidents. Knowledge of first aid and how to administer them can save a life. However, in the US, statistics show that as much as 70 percent of Americans do not know what to do in case something does happen.

Are you and your family ready? Let’s have a look at some of the most common emergency situations and what you can do to address each one immediately. Take note that while these procedures are recommended and necessary, the more important thing you should do before performing any of these is to call 911 first or ask somebody to call an ambulance while you get started. With that established, here are six procedures that everybody should know.

  1. Perform CPR

This is one of the first things that come to mind when it comes to “life-saving skills.” Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a technique that could make a huge difference to a person who is suffering cardiac arrest. It’s better to get training from a licensed emergency services specialist and practice the moves beforehand, so that when the time comes that your skill is needed, you are ready. Even just watching a one-minute video about CPR can already help make you better at thir procedure.

  1. Help someone who is choking

The Heimlich maneuver is the most popular way of relieving a person who cannot breathe due to a blockage in the airway. Some restaurants post illustrations and photos demonstrating how to do this procedure because choking happens while one is excitedly eating. However, not every place has these guides available. This is why you and your family should know what to do.

Note that before performing the Heimlich maneuver, you should first strike five blows to the person’s back using the heel of your hand to dislodge the food or object that’s blocking the air passage. If that doesn’t work, that’s the time you do the signature abdominal thrusts. Choking not only happens to people who are eating. It can also happen in children and infants who are prone to putting random stuff in their mouths. There are different techniques for adults and children, so train your family to do both.

  1. Burn

For minor burns, you can immediately address the problem by running the affected area under cool water for at least 10 minutes. Then, get a moist towel to help further cool the skin. Do not put ice, or anything else on the burnt area and simply cleanse it with mild soap and water. For the pain, the person can take meds to manage it. Just make sure that he or she is not allergic to these drugs, or else you end up with a bigger problem.

Simple burns do not require dressings, as well, and just need to be aired out. Just make sure that open wounds are not contaminated so you don’t escalate the problem. Of course, if it’s a major burn, you must call for medical help right away or rush to the nearest hospital to be treated by a professional.

  1. Bleeding

Bleeding can come in different forms, ranging from a simple scrape to the dangerous arterial type. In any case, the goal is to stop the bleeding ASAP and prevent further loss of blood. To address a bleeding issue, wash your hands and put on gloves (or a clean plastic bag) first to avoid contaminating the area. Elevate the site of the bleeding and remove any obvious debris and dirt from the wound. If there’s a large object embedded, do not touch it and just wait for medical professionals to handle it.

Apply pressure on the bleed site with a bandage or clean cloth for at least 20 minutes. During this period, do not open the cloth to check if it has stopped. Just wait until the time has passed before looking. If the bleeding doesn’t stop and there’s arterial damage, apply pressure on the artery itself and squeeze it against the bone, while ensuring that your hand continues to apply pressure on the wound itself.

  1. Heart attack

Because a heart attack is life-threatening, knowing how to spot signs of an impending attack and how to deal with it when it does happen is crucial. Signs includes dizziness, pain in the neck, shoulder or arm, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea/vomiting, among others. When you spot someone with these telltale signs, immediately call 911 or have someone do so. You can offer aspirin if available because it can help reduce the damage, then perform CPR when the person loses consciousness. Do this until emergency service arrives and takes over.

  1. Carrying someone bigger than you

There might be times when there’s another person hurt and only you can help bring him or her to safety. If that person if heavier than you or you are not that strong, you can still lift him or her without hurting yourself while doing it. What you can do is take the person’s arm and pull it over your shoulder. Then while crouching down or kneeling, have his or her middle part rest on your shoulder to hang. Thrust upwards using your hips and legs. Do not lean forward as this can cause injury on your back. You can practice this technique with children or small people first, just so you get the hang of it.

Hopefully, you or your family will not be in a situation that requires knowledge of emergency procedures. However, arming your loved ones with these skills makes you better prepared to handle them when they do happen. In addition, practicing these procedures as a family or a team can help bring you closer together because it’s a wonderful way to bond.

Package Theft: 7 Ways To Prevent Your Parcels From Getting Stolen

The season of multiple gift giving may be over but the era of package thieves remains at a high. People who prey on unattended packages are always on the ready to pick your box off the front porch or the mailbox, so you must take proper measures to make sure this does not happen to you. Packages that sit for a long time (even just a few hours, while you’re out doing grocery shopping) are attractive not just to nosy neighbors and curious kids, but to thieves, as well.

How To Prevent Package Theft

According to Consumer Affairs, there are over 23 million complaints about stolen packages in every year — and that’s in the US alone. This number is at its highest during the holiday season, and after Cyber Monday or Black Friday, although reports of theft really happen all-year-round. Thieves don’t really choose an occasion to prey on unopened packages. As long as they see a box unattended, you can be somebody will be interested.

Despite this statistic, there are some things you can do so you don’t become part of this number. While you cannot really predict if and when you will be a victim of a thief, you can take some steps to reduce the likelihood that it will happen to you.

Here are seven things you can do to prevent package theft.

  1. Have your package delivered to your office, instead

You spend most of the day time at work, anyways, so why not just have your package delivered there so you can receive it yourself? There are just too many stories of packages getting snatch by curious passers-by or naughty neighbors from the porch. Also on a high are complaints about irresponsible delivery guys who just leave packages without even bothering to check if anybody’s home or, worse, pre-signing your delivery forms without asking you first. One way to avoid this is to have it delivered to your workplace or to the house of a friend you trust to ensure that you get your package intact and safe every time.

  1. Install a security camera on you porch or front door

A camera might not stop thieves from getting at your package, but having one that is visible will deter them from attempting anything. A video cam facing your hallway, driveway or front door is a great deterrent and people will have to think twice before trying to get near. There are security cams that you can access in real time via your smartphone and provide high definition quality videos so you can see things clearly even in dim light conditions, like gloomy weather or dusk. Security experts recommend that you get an HD surveillance camera that has a minimum of 1080p so you can make a clear and positive ID when your package does still get stolen.

  1. Use Amazon locker or other smart package lockers

When you know nobody’s going to be home, you can have your packages delivered to smart lockers at select locations across the US. You will be given a unique code to punch into the system so it churns out your package. Not all states have this, though, so best to check first if you have a smart locker near you or are willing to drive a bit to retrieve it. Smart lockers are a convenient and guaranteed safe way to receive packages. The UPS Store also lets you buy or rent digital lockers that you can also share with friends if you are frequent online shoppers.

  1. Put your deliveries on hold

When you know you’re going to be away for a week, you can call the courier service or post office to tell them to place a “hold” on your packages until you call them again or for a pre-set period. Delivery services like FedEx or USPS have this service for free. Some couriers charge a minimal fee for keeping your package at their warehouses for a while. Do check with your service provider first about their fees and guidelines. If they do charge, this amount will be nothing compared to the hassle of having your stuff stolen from your yard just because nobody could receive it.

  1. Get insurance

You don’t want to come home after a fun holiday to find out that your packages have been stolen or have gone missing. One way to make sure that your precious parcel is protected is by getting insurance. Courier services will guarantee reimbursement on the declared value of your package in the event that it gets looted or it gets lost along the way. Check with your service provider about their terms and conditions first.

  1. Require a signature upon delivery

There have been plenty of reports about delivery personnel pre-signing your packages and then just leaving them on your front door, ripe for everyone’s picking. To prevent this from happening, you can ask for signature delivery. UPS has this service, where you can ask your sender to require a delivery confirmation signature before the package can be released as “delivered.” If you asked for this service and it was not followed, the courier company can be held liable legally and you will be given a full refund if no proof of delivery is presented.

  1. Reschedule delivery

If you don’t know when exactly you’ll be returning from your vacation or work trip, you can monitor your shipment using the tracking number and call the courier service to reroute the parcel to another address. This can be a trusted friend or family member’s house where you are sure that somebody will guarantee a delivery first-hand. On the other hand, you can also ask that the delivery company reschedule the actual drop-off. Both services might come with a fee but, again, this amount will be minimal compared to the trouble of tracking your missing package after a relaxing holiday.

Whether it’s the holiday season or a regular day, nobody really is immune to package theft when there’s a parcel just sitting at your porch and not getting any attention. You can outsmart would-be thieves and give yourself peace of mind while you’re away by following any of these seven tips. By being smart about your parcels, you can then go back to shopping and receiving packages confidently and without fear that the nosy neighbor would tinker with it or it gets stolen.