Do you have any of these products stored in your garage or around your house or apartment?
Gasoline, propane, kerosene, lighter fluid, cleaning liquids, oil-based paints, fertilizers, mineral spirits, nail polish remover, furniture polish, floor polish, disinfectants, weed killers, turpentine, hair spray, adhesives and glues.
Your answer is probably "Yes!" But you may be wondering what all these liquids have in common. The answer: They're FLAMMABLE, which means the vapors they give off can catch fire very easily -- in a flash or even a big explosion. Flammable vapors can spread quickly through small cracks in doors and between rooms. Then just one spark is all it takes.
You can't see the dangers of flammable liquids because the vapors they give off are invisible. But if you accidentally spill some gasoline or charcoal lighter fluid, and the vapors from it mix with air and reach an ignition spark such as a faulty electrical outlet, a match, the pilot light on an appliance like a gas dryer or stove, a lit candle or a smoldering cigarette, you could be in BIG trouble fast.
During the summer, when people are grilling food on barbecues and mowing their lawns, burn injuries and deaths caused by the ignition of gasoline vapors increase, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System. So this season is a time to be especially careful with flammable liquids like gasoline and charcoal lighter fluid.
Your parents should make sure that any flammable liquids in your home are tightly sealed and properly stored out of the reach of children. Gasoline that is kept around for your lawn mower or as extra fuel for the car should be stored in a special, bright red container. The container should not be filled all the way to the top. Allow room for the vapor to expand. Store the container away from the house in a shed or detached garage. It should never be stored in plastic milk jugs or glass containers. Gasoline must be used ONLY for the purpose it is manufactured for: powering motors. Never use it as a cleaner. Don't use it indoors. And it should never be used to start fires. It's just too dangerous!
If you have any other flammable materials in your house, check their labels to find out how to store and use them safely.
There's another liquid in your house that can be dangerous: hot water. More than 4,000 children receive serious scald burns each year from hot tap water. Half of these children are under 5 years old. The burns are extremely painful and very serious. The average length of stay in the hospital for a tap scald burn is 17 days, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign.
Young children have sensitive skin that can burn more easily than an older child's or an adult's. So water that feels comfortable to you or to a grown-up can be way too hot for a baby or young child. Bath time is fun but it's a time to be aware of danger. If you are caring for a younger brother or sister, or are baby-sitting, follow these simple rules to avoid scald burns at bath time:
When you fill the tub, turn the cold water on first. Then add hot water. When the tub is almost filled to the level you want, turn off the hot water, then turn off the cold water. Put your hand all the way into the water. Spread your fingers and move your hand back and forth to check for hot spots. Don't put the child in the tub until the water has been turned off and the temperature tested. During bath time, don't leave the child alone to answer the phone or the doorbell. Don't leave the room for any reason!
What temperature should the water that comes from the hot faucet be? No more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Ask an adult in your family to use a kitchen thermometer to check the water that flows from your hot tap. If it's more than 120 degrees, an adult, a plumber or the superintendent of your apartment building should turn down the thermostat on the hot water heater. Tips for Parents
The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association, in partnership with the National Safe Kids Campaign, has several free publications available about the dangers of common household fluids. They include a home kit for families that includes stickers to apply to dangerous materials in your home; a booklet, "Step Up to Safety With Sparky," with crossword puzzles for kids aged 5 to 9; and a Marvel comic book for kids aged 10 and older, "Daredevil vs. Vapora," in which a superhero teaches the dangers of gasoline. To receive any or all of these free publications, write to: GAMA, 4 West Nebraska St., Frankfort, Ill., 604-423-9925, or call 1-800-GAMA-811. CAPTION: For You to Do
Make a safety poster for your garage or garden shed. Draw a picture of what can happen if gasoline vapors meet an ignition spark. In large letters that are visible from a distance, write a fire- and explosion-prevention slogan to remind your family that gasoline and charcoal lighter fluid are nothing to fool around with. Here's one idea: WARNING! Gasoline can blow you sky-high!