In your everyday life it’s important to use precautions that are available and are there to help protect you. Take your seatbelt, for example. Nobody should be driving, even to the store, without being sure that their seatbelt and those of their children are being properly used. Kids should not be allowed to put the shoulder harness behind their back. They need to keep their seatback straight up, as should you as an adult. Obviously, staying off your cell phone, not texting and doing other things that will distract you is also important. I don’t know how many times I’ve had clients come in where the person who hit them was adjusting the radio. Or doing something inside the car that diverted their attention from the road.

The Speed limit is the limit. That is the most you should drive. But there are a thousand reasons to drive slower. Exercise common sense and slow down rather than drive the speed limit when there’s too much traffic, it’s raining, it’s foggy, it’s snowing or there are kids in the area. The law in West Virginia says adults must anticipate that children will act childishly. So if you see kids in the area, slow down. You’re going to get there a few minutes later. You’d be amazed at the number of accidents that could be prevented if people just slowed down when conditions indicate they ought to take their foot off that gas pedal just a little bit so that they get there safely. Because getting there safely is more important than getting there on time.

If you have children in your home, you must have blockers or guards on your electrical circuits. You want to be sure the electrical devices are secure from children and not easy for them to accidentally unplug. Obviously, with your hot water heater, you want to be sure it has a scald guard and make sure it is set at the correct temperature. I can’t tell you how many times a tragedy occurs because someone either disabled the a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or didn’t check the batteries when the manufacturer recommends.

When you open your smoke or carbon monoxide detector, it’s right on there what the manufacturer recommends when you change your batteries. Put those events on your calendar just as you would a doctor or dentist appointment.

Around the neighborhood, you want to be sure the area where kids are playing is properly fenced off so they don’t accidentally chase balls into the road where vehicular traffic is going to be a danger to them. In a few communities, parents form a safety audit committee to make sure the playgrounds and sports fields are up to standards. You can find the standards on the internet.

We had a very sad incident of a young child who I represented a few years ago and believe it or not, somebody had erected a slide over a swimming pool over a concrete surface. Well, anyone would tell you that you don’t build things for kids to climb on over concrete. There are all kinds of shreddable rubber and insulation. Unfortunately, that case was a very serious brain injury. Working together as a community to try and make that sure your recreational areas are safe is a really good activity for parents to do together.

The saying goes that safety begins at home. That can mean literally at home but also it rests with all of us taking responsibility wherever we are. There are common sense things that we can do, but accidents can happen. If they do, you can contact the Segal Law firm at (855) 344-9100.