Safety Tips for Black Friday Shoppers

Black Friday Sale signThe day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is the biggest shopping day of the year.  When it comes to cashing-in on the day’s deals, the motto is “If you snooze you lose.”

Many stores will open at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and some retailers will even open their doors on Thanksgiving eve in hopes that they can entice people out of their post-turkey dinner food coma. For serious bargain-hunters, the day is the ultimate shopping extravaganza that requires a strategic plan, including store maps and item locations, that’s hatched days in advance. Others take a less organized approach, but are still hungry for a deal or this year’s hottest holiday toy.

The combination of too-good-to-be-true deals and shoppers hopped up on copious amounts of caffeine and tryptophan can be dangerous, though. Overzealous drivers can make parking lots a zoo and sleep-deprived shoppers are less likely to pay attention to the road. Unfortunately, Black Friday, which is considered the unofficial start to the holiday season, also brings out thieves, pickpockets, and others who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers.

Whether you’re leaving the house at the crack of dawn (or dusk) in search of Black Friday deals or saving your holiday shopping for the last minute, keep these safety tips in mind when navigating the parking lots and wandering the aisles.

On the Road and in the Parking Lot

  • When backing out of a parking spot, be aware of waiting cars, others who are backing out at the same time, and motorists who speed through lanes.
  • Lock all doors and roll up all windows even when leaving the car for a short period of time.
  • When shopping, keep gifts in the trunk or hidden from view in the interior of the car. Also, put all of your packages in the trunk before departing one parking lot and driving to another. Waiting until your next shopping destination allows others to see packages go into the trunk of your car and then you departing into the mall or store.
  • Avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that block your space from general vision of others.
  • Make a mental note or write down exactly where you park your car to avoid wandering around longer than necessary.
  • During the day, park away from buildings to reduce the chance of dings from car doors or shopping carts. At night, avoid secluded areas and park directly under lights whenever possible.
  • Have your keys in hand when leaving a store. Also, look underneath your car before you reach it; criminals have been known to lie underneath in wait.
  • Bring gifts in the house with you instead of leaving them in the car.

In the Store:

  • Use a credit card to avoid thefts of large amounts of cash that are irreplaceable.
  • Shopping with a single credit card is preferable because it’s easier to cancel one, rather than several, if your wallet or purse is stolen.
  • Keep purses zipped and close to your body. Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart where it is more susceptible to theft.Keep a reference list of phone and account numbers for all your credit cards in a safe place at home.If possible, carry keys, cash, and credit cards separate from each other.For freedom of motion and clear visibility, do not overload yourself with bags when leaving a store and returning to your car. It’s difficult to defend yourself with when you’re carry a lot of packages.Use ATMs in well-populated, well lit locations. Do not throw ATM receipts away at the ATM location.
  • Remember there is increased safety in numbers. Avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more active parking lot. Ask mall security to walk you to your car if you feel you are not safe.

In addition to remembering these safety tips, you should also review your insurance policies with our Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents to make sure you have the proper coverage in case an accident or theft does occur. Liability coverage will protect you if you hit another motorist, collision coverage will cover the damage to your car, and comprehensive coverage will insure you for damage by vandals or theft of your vehicle.

Babyproofing Tips for Your Home

Baby crawlingMaking your home safe for your baby is an important step in becoming a parent. Many homes contain hazards that are well within reach of babies and toddlers.

When preparing your home for your baby, be sure to take a tally of each room – make a map if possible, and figure out where to move things to make each room safe for your child.

Our partners at Trusted Choice have compiled an article detailing the top baby safety tips you need to know, and how to modify your home to be the safest for children:

Address Your Outlets

The most common accidents for children under the age of 5 are injuries involving burns. It’s important to remember this when taking a look around your home. Make sure that every available outlet in your home has an outlet protector on it; keep extra outlet protectors available in case one is lost. If your family can afford it, invest in outlet covers that come equipped with a sliding latch. Be sure to cover any open electrical outlets on extension cords with electrical tape.

Electrical safety for children is important. As your child grows, you must babyproof things higher up. Knobs for stoves and low-placed appliances will have to be moved to higher areas or removed from the room completely.

Lock Away Hazardous Chemicals

Poisoning is another very common injury for children.

99% of households keep cleaning agents under the sink. For that reason, it’s important to invest in child proof cabinet locks. Use these locks for any cabinet that contains harmful items or items that can choke, cut, or burn your child. Even if you don’t think your child will drink something dangerous, they may open a container of something caustic, which blinds children.

Salt is another potential poison. It takes just a tablespoon and a half to kill a 25 lb child. Keep all chemicals, cleaning agents, and cosmetic items in locked cabinets high up where children cannot reach them.

Secure Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are another danger area for children. Young ones can drown in as little as two inches of water, and it’s amazing how quickly they can get themselves in dangerous situations. Always keep a close eye on your children in the bathroom.

Install a toilet seat lock to keep your child from opening up the toilet, and never leave a child unattended while bathing.

Child electrical safety is another factor when babyproofing in the bathroom, as electrical appliances can be pulled or fall into the bathtub. Never use electrical items while a member of the family is in the bathtub or shower.

Prevent Head Injuries

Head injuries are one of the scariest things that can happen to a child. Even a small uneventful run-in or fall can cause a large bump to rise on the child’s head.

Use foam bumpers to surround furniture with small edges, and never leave a child (especially an infant) unattended on a couch, bed, or counter. Always move items out of baby’s reach that can be grabbed or pulled down, such as books, picture frames, or knick knacks.

Reduce Strangulation Risks

Strangulation is another concern for parents. Items like necklaces, shoelaces, strings or blinds can also get wrapped around a child’s neck very easily.

Always shorten blind cords, and keep an eye on children while they play with toys that have strings.

Railings are also a potential for danger. Check railings on staircases to make sure that the gap is no wider than 3.5 inches. If the gap is larger than this, install acrylic sheeting or netting to prevent your child’s head from getting stuck between the rails.

More Baby Safety Tips >>

Photo by Ben Earwicker, Garrison Photography, Boise, ID, www.garrisonphoto.org

The Vanishing Deductible & Other Good Driver Discounts

Infographic: 5 Ways to Save on Car InsuranceIf you are looking for a good driver discount and other ways to save on auto insurance, you are in the right place.

At Neely Taylor Wade Insurance, our agents in the Trusted Choice® network can compare auto insurance rates from multiple companies and look for discounts on your behalf.

Some insurance companies offer vanishing or disappearing deductibles to drivers who have clean driving records. This perk deserves some exploration, so be sure to ask our agents what it means and how it could it can help you manage your insurance costs.

Because we are independent agents, we can shop across multiple insurance companies to find you the best coverage at the right price.

There are many ways to find discounts to make your auto insurance affordable, including practicing safe driving habits and maintaining a good driving record. Driving infractions, including traffic violations and DUIs, place points on your driving record that can severely impact your auto insurance rates.

Also, there are discounts available for careful drivers and those willing to take extra measures to show they are sincere about safety.

Taking an educational course on safe driving is one of them. These classes are usually provided at your local Department of Motor Vehicles office or at community colleges. Many insurance providers will reduce your premium after you successfully complete a safety course. More tips from our friends at Trusted Choice.

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Is Your Teenager a Safe Driver?

Teenage driver female photoA young driver in the United States is involved in a fatal car crash nearly every two hours, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration .

That’s from 2011 statistics that showed more than 5,000 young drivers (ages 15-20) were involved in fatal car crashes, with more than 1,900 deaths and 180,000 injuries behind the wheel.

During the National Teen Driver Safety Week, parents and teens are encouraged to discuss ways to ensure that teens receive supervised driving practice, learn critical driving skills, and create family rules regarding teen driving when they become licensed drivers.

Here are tips and ideas to help parents talk with their teenagers about how to become a safe driver, shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and TheCarConnection.com.

Teach Your Children How To Stay Safe Around School Buses

 

Teaching your children a few simple guidelines about school buses will keep them out of harm’s way and get them home safe and sound, say Carl Baskerville, elementary school principal, and Dr. Ricardo Martinez, administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Here are tips to help parents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Children

•  Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

•  When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.

•   Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.

•  If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.

•  Use the handrails to avoids falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings, and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.

•  Never walk behind the bus.

•  Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.

•  If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

Parents

•  Teach children to follow these common sense practices to make school bus transportation safer.

 

More School Bus Safety Info >>