FORT LEE, Va. (April 28, 2011) -- Like it or not, it is that time of the year again when we have to refresh our living areas. Take a look at the tips below for spring cleaning safety to avoid injuries. 

Around the House

• Choose non-toxic products for your spring cleaning. For example, vinegar and water make an inexpensive and effective window cleaning solution.

• Place cribs, playpens and other furniture away from the window and accessible drapery cords. Children can fall out of windows or strangle on cords.

• Make sure window guards/bars are secure. Know how to open the window in case of fire. Screens do not prevent falls from open windows.

• Test all your smoke alarms to ensure they are working. Change the batteries at least once every year.

• Develop and practice a family fire escape plan in case of emergency.

• Consider installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

• Make sure small parts, plastic bags, small toys, balloons or any other choking hazards are out of reach of young children, particularly those less than 3 years.

• Check your home for recalled and banned children's products. Visit www.recalls.gov.

• Keep foot traffic areas free of clutter, toys and rugs in order to avoid tripping, especially with a child in your arms.

• Basement doors should have a self-latching lock to prevent children from falling down the stairs.

• Post the Poison Help Line number (1-800-222-1222) and your pediatrician's number.

• Have heating unit, hot water heater and stove serviced at least twice a year to ensure proper combustion. Have your cooling unit checked, too.

Garage

• Properly dispose of toxic and flammable materials you no longer need. Place remaining materials high and out of reach of children.

• Check the garage for flammable liquids such as gasoline, paint thinner, paint and cleaners. Make sure safety caps are in place and place them away from any heat sources. Keep only the amount of flammable or toxic products you need - do not stock up on extra cans. Keep toxic products in their original containers.

• Tidy loose papers, old rags and debris in the garage that could contribute to a fire or self-combust without any source of ignition.

• When washing the car, clean the car safety seat as well - sticky snacks, crumbs and drink spills can interfere with the crotch buckle and chest clip. Use the instructionsmanual to find out how to remove the cover and clean these parts. Weigh and measure your children to make sure they still fit in their seats. Be sure the seat is installed securely.

• Keep garage area clear of obstacles that would pose a trip or slip hazard.

Yard

• Choose non-toxic fertilizers, insecticides and gardening supplies.

• Inspect the outside area for harmful insect nests.

• Eliminate standing water to prevent drowning (buckets, drums and baby pools) and infestation of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.

• Inspect the play area for sharp objects, poisonous plants and tripping hazards.

• Install 6 inches of cushioning material such as mulch under playground equipment.