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YOUR PLACE: Keeping your kids safe throughout the house

My father used to say that you never put your hand on a hot stove more than once.

It's one of those "learn from experience" adages that I have never agreed with, especially when it puts a child at risk of serious injury.

About 350 children age 19 and younger are injured as a result of fire or burn-related causes every day, according to the National Fire Protection Association -- a statistic reported by First Alert, which makes smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers for homes.

Here are some tips to keep the little ones out of harm's way in the kitchen:

Cook on the back burners when young children are present, and keep pot handles turned back, away from the stove's edge.

During mealtime, place hot items in the center of the table, at least 10 inches from the table's edge. Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths if toddlers are present.

Keep fire extinguishers close at hand, and within easy reach of the cooking area.

What about the rest of the house? Glad you asked:

Check smoke detectors regularly, and replace the batteries every six months. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

Consider switching to voice alarms, which use a loud, pre-recorded and tamper-proof human voice to alert residents to smoke and also to the specific location of the hazard within the home.

Keep appliance cords -- especially for items such as irons -- coiled and away from counter edges.

Contact Alan J. Heavens at aheavens@phillynews.com or write him at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia PA 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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