When you look around your home do you see water hazards, chemical stockpiles and vertiginous drops? If you do, and you have children or aging parents, you might want to give Alison Rhodes a call. She'll show you where danger lurks in your home and offer advice on how to keep your family safe.
Alison, a Wilton, Conn. resident and mother of three kids aged six to 13, is a National Child Safety expert, a regular speaker on television and radio parenting shows and the author of "Honey, I Lost the Baby in the Produce Aisle!" She's also the brain behind SafetyMom, a company that provides homeproofing services.
Alison says falls are the leading cause of death in young children, and drowning is another. Children can drown in two inches of bathwater, in the toilet or in a bucket of water. And as they grow, dangers change. "A child can pull a dresser onto himself," she says. Anchoring tall furniture to the wall will solve the problem. And when did you last notice the poisons (pills) and choking hazards (loose coins) on your bedside table?
Safety can be a challenge for aging parents, too, as many choose to stay in their own homes. SafetyMom evaluates each family's needs and makes recommendations, such installing ramps, removing rugs or widening doors for wheelchair access.
Alison became aware of the importance of home safety after her first child, Connor, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). She became involved in a support group and learned about risk reduction measures, such as removing everything but the mattress from a crib. "As horrific as it was to lose my son," Alison says, "His death helped me find my passion."
SafetyMoms operates throughout Westchester and Fairfield Counties and on Long Island, N.Y. A consultation costs $95 and homeowners receive an itemized proposal of things that need doing to improve safety in that home. Installers are available to carry out the work if the homeowner needs help.
Though Alison sees danger everywhere, she emphasizes that what is important is preventing traumatic accidents. "You don't want to put the kids in a bubble," she says. "But it's important to take measures to stay safe. Just like wearing a seat belt in the car."