50. Better Safe Than Sorry

Every year a great number of babies and young children die or are injured in fires. One out of every five fires is caused by careless smoking or by children playing with matches and lighter. Don’t tempt children by leaving marches or lighters around a room.

Never leave a child along in a house. In just a few seconds they could start a fire. Or a fire could start and trap them. A child will panic in a fire and will not know what to do. Unless a parent is around to help, a child may try to hide under a bed or in a closet. Home fire drills are a sound idea. The best way to stop panic in case of fire is to know what to do before a fire breaks out.

Your first thought in a fire should always be escape. Far too many people become victims because they do not know the killing power and speed of fire. If a fire is very small and has just started, you can put it out yourself. Do this if you have the proper tools on hand. In any case always send the children outside first. Smoke, not fire, is the real killer in a fire. According to studies, as many as eight out of ten deaths are due to inhaling fumes long before the flames ever came near the person.

Burns are another hazard to tots. Fireplaces, space heaters, floor furnaces and radiators have all caused horrible burns to babies. Since you cannot watch your child all the time, you must screen fireplaces. Put guards around heaters and radiators.

Some people use a vaporizer or portable heater in a child’s room. If you do, be sure you place it out of reach. Be sure, too, that it is not placed too close to blankets or bedclothes.

Use care in the kitchen. It is not safe to let an infant crawl or a small child walk around the kitchen while you are preparing meals. There is danger of your tripping and spilling something hot on the child. There is even danger of a child pulling a hot pot off the stove on the herself. Also, do not use tablecloths that hang over the table edge. Children may grasp the cloth and pull hot foods down upon them. Be aware of these dangers and protect your child.

49. Small but Mighty

Wood decay is caused by small plants called fungi. These plants cannot live on wood that has a moisture content of less than about 30 percent. The wood in most well-built homes is safe because the moisture content is rarely about 15 percent. The way to stop decay is simple. Keep wood dry.

Keeping wood dry is not always that easy to do. The outside walls of a house are open to rain that blows against them. Soil carries water. It can wet any wood that touches it. Also, if there are plumbing leaks in your home, the inside weed can get wet.

Wood must be kept dry at all times because wood soaks up water and holds it for a long time. From time to time heavy rains can supply enough water for decay to begin.

If you know that wood will become wet, it can be protected. Wood can be treated with preservatives. For long term safety, the preservative should be put on under pressure. If the wood comes in touch with the ground, only pressure treatment will do the job. Some pieces of wood that only get wet from time to time can be treated to stop decay by brushing on a preservative. The correct chemical to use for treatment depends upon what the wood is used for. Some chemicals give off a terrible smell. These are not good for use indoors. Others cause paint to peel. You should mention what the wood is used for when you buy the preservative.

Mold and stain fungi can attack wood. Molds grow mainly on the surface but may get inside the outer sapwood. The dark color caused by mold on wood can be removed by light sanding. Stain fungi go beyond the outer layers and causes a dark color that cannot be removed. Both molds and stain feed on wood. By themselves, they do not decay or weaken the wood. But, they do increase the wood’s ability to take on and hold moisture. Thus, they increase the possibility of future decay. If you see signs of mold and stain fungi, you may have a problem.

Wood decays slowly at temperatures below 40F. So, decay is more rapid in the South than in the North. Decay is also more rapid in humid than in dry regions even though the plants which cause decay are present everywhere throughout the United States.

48. The Romantic Center

Fireplaces tend to affect people in a strange way. They seem to have a romance all their own. Well they should. Fireplaces were once the center of family life. When the West was being settled, the fireplace was the only energy source in the home. It provided heat, light, and cooking facilities. We have all heard the tale of Abe Lincoln being born in a log cabin. He is said to have studied his law books in front of the open fire. He did his writing on the back of the fireplace shovel.

In large Colonial homes, there were a number of fireplaces. There would be one in the living room and another in the library. Often, there would be a fireplace in each bedroom. People burned logs in the open fireplace because logs were the only fuel that was around. Later, modern fireplaces burned “gas logs.” These were artificial logs that were really gas outlets. Many of these are still around today.

As homes began to be built with heating furnaces, fireplaces started to disappear. While a few homes still had them, they were more for show than anything else. In fact, some of the fireplaces in today’s homes are not really fireplaces at all. That is, they do not have hearths or chimneys or dampers or other things that a fireplace needs. It would be quite dangerous to build a real fire in one of these.

But today, fireplaces have begun to make a strong comeback. Part of this is due to the high cost of fuel and energy. People are using them more and more. With this new use, there is a need for people to learn the rules for fireplace safety.

There are some things we should all know about open fires in the home. For example, did you know that sparks can leap from an open fire? These sparks can ignite anything in the room that will burn. This is why a screen made of wire or special glass should be placed across the fireplace.

If charcoal is burned in a poorly vented fireplace, deadly gases could be released into the room. Logs you buy at the store are made of sawdust and wax. These should be handled differently from natural logs. They should be burned one at a time and not stacked.

A fireplace can be lovely. It can also be a killer if not used properly.

47. A Good Experience

In one sense, an allowance is a child’s share of the family income. It can be a good experience that parents can provide for their children. The amount should be what the family can afford. It should be given to the youngster to do with as she pleases. It should not be used as a tool to win the youngster’s good behavior.

An allowance is not a bribe. It should be thought of as a learning tool. It can give a youngster first-hand experience in learning how to spend money. It can teach her how to get the best value for what she buys. It can help her use her skills in arithmetic.

Many youngsters make mistakes and buy unwisely at first. Some rush out to spend all their money the moment they get it. They forget that once it is spent, there will be no more for several days. From such haste, youngsters can learn how to choose wisely and spend carefully.

Parents need to know when to begin to give an allowance. They also want to decide how much to give. when a youngster starts school, she may want an allowance. She may have friends who receive one. A good time for considering an allowance may be when a youngster make daily requests for ice cream or candy. This will help her to see the value of money.

At first a youngster may receive only half an allowance but get it twice a week. This would be a help to someone who finds a full week too long. A youngster will soon figure out that she can have two candy bars this week, or she can save her allowance for two weeks and buy a toy. She learns that she cannot have both the candy and the toy.

A wise parent will not control her child’s buying. If a child makes her own mistakes with her own money, she is more apt to learn from her mistakes. Also, a child should not be made to save a part of each week’s allowance. An allowance should not be taken away as punishment for bad behavior. An allowance should not be thought of as pay for doing household chores.

A youngster should be encouraged to be generous. An allowance should help her see that money isn’t everything. No amount of money can buy friendship. Things such as love or respect do not have a price tag.

46. Satisfaction Guaranteed

It may take some time and effort to find the lawyer who will be right for you. It is wise to search for a family lawyer who can advise you about things before they happen. This way you can take your time. If you wait until you are in a jam, you may have to make a mad dash to find someone to represent you. You may not make the best choice if you are under pressure. Time spent selecting a lawyer is time well spent. The satisfaction you get from having made the right choice will make the search time all worth while.

One way to find a lawyer is to look for a satisfied client. Talk to your family and friends. See if they have used a lawyer whose services pleased them. Find out, too, what sort of matter the lawyer handled for them. Lawyers tend to specialize in a certain branch of the law. A lawyer may not want to handle a matter outside of his speciality.

Check to see if there is a lawyer referral service where you live. Such a service is often sponsored by the local bar association. If there is one, you will find it listed in the phone book. When you call, the service will give you the name of an attorney. Have a first interview with him for a stated fee. It should be a modest fee. At that meeting you can find out if you need further legal aid.

There may not be a referral service where you live. But there should be a local bar association. If so, you should find it listed in the phone book. Or you can ask at the county courthouse. Someone there will know the name of the president of the bar association and his address. You can then ask him for the name of a good lawyer. Make it clear that you are asking him as president of the bar association for his opinion. Tell him the kind of service you are seeking.

If you are poor and can’t afford to pay a fee, you can get help. There may be a legal aid society where you live. Or there may be a group of lawyers who give free legal advice in certain cases. You can find out by looking in the phone book or by asking at the courthouse.

45. Child Proofing

Poisonings which cause death happen most of the time to children between the ages of one and three. Some doctors call this stage the “Age of Accidents.” Children want to look at things and taste them. They will eat or drink anything they can find, even if it tastes bad. You must make your home safe for children and protect them from poisoning.

Here are three things you can do. One, know which things around the home are poisons. Two, keep poisons out of your child’s reach at all times. Three, he aware of how clever children are when it comes to finding poisons.

Nearly all chemicals and drugs in the home contain things which can poison someone. Be sure to read the labels on products you bring into the home. Look for the words which are meant as warnings. These warnings will read Poison. Harmful if swallowed, For External Use Only, and Keep Out of Reach of Children. Look around your home for bottles and jars which bear these warnings. Then, put them away in a place where a child cannot reach or find them.

You should know that you cannot always rely on the label on a product to give you the proper warning. There are things such as nail polish, perfume, make-up, hair tonic and others which give you no clue to the dangers that might result from swallowing. Drinks with alcohol, such as gin, whiskey, beer, and wine, do not carry warnings. These, too, can cause your child harm. You cannot know which of the hundreds of items are really dangerous. Therefore, your best line of defense is to suspect everything which is not a known and healthy food item.

Even a great number of plants, even those commonly found around the house, are poisonous. Teach your child never to eat any part of a plant unless it is served as food. this rule also applies to unknown berries and mushrooms. Even nibbling on leaves, sucking on plant stems is unsafe. Also, drinking water in which plants have been soaking can cause poisoning.

Some foods can be just as harmful as poisons when given to a child by mistake. For example, putting salt instead of sugar in baby’s food can lead to illness. If you put sugar and salt into new jars, label them. Be sure to read the label each time before using.

If your child shows signs of poisoning, call your doctor right away.

44. Happy Home Buying

You have found a home you want to buy. What is the next step? Very likely you will need a mortgage loan to pay for your home. Most families do pay a good part of the purchase price of a home with a mortgage.

A mortgage is a loan contract. A bank agrees to provide the money you need to buy a certain home. You, in turn, agree to repay the money based on terms stated in the agreement.

The size of each payment depends on three things. The first is the amount of money you have borrowed. The second thing is the interest rate charged by the bank. The third thing is the number of years you need to pay the loan off. Under law, the contract has to state the amount of the loan, the interest you will pay, and the size and times of the payments. Any other charges made by the bank must also be included in the contract.

As the borrower, you must promise your home as security for the loan. It remains pledged until the loan is aid off. If you fail to meet the terms of the contract, the bank has the right to foreclose. Under the law, this means that the bank can take your home and sell it to pay off the loan.

Most mortgages are installment loans. This means that you are required to make a fixed payment – usually once a month. Part of the payment is kept by the bank to cover the interest charges. Part of it may be set aside by the bank to pay your taxes and insurance. And part of the payment reduces the principal of the loan. The principal is the actual amount that you borrowed.

In the beginning, most of each payment goes for the interest. As you keep paying, a smaller share of each payment is for interest and a larger share repays the principal. As your payments reduce the amount you owe on the principal of the loan, the interest charges are reduced.

You build up equity in your home as you pay off the mortgage. Equity is that part of your home which you own free from the bank. When the last payment on the mortgage is made, you will have full equity. The home will be completely years. The interest has been paid off. The principal has been repaid in full.

43. Best Buy for Your Money

Most breads and cereals are well liked. They are cheap and fit easily into meal plans. Some cost just cents per serving. Even though they are cheap, the whole grain or enriched products have good amounts of vitamins and minerals. One food study showed that just 12 cents of each food dollar went for flour, cereals and bakery products.

To help you get your money’s worth from breads and cereals, there are some things you should keep in mind. Whole-grain or enriched foods have much more nutrition than unenriched products. Most white bread is enriched. Some special breads, such as French, Italian, and raisin, and many other bake shop products are also enriched. Check the wrapper or ask the baker to be sure.

You should also know that it takes three pounds of unenriched bread, costing more than $1, to give the amount of thiamin that is contained in one pounds of enriched bread, costing 25 cents. The same is true of whole wheat bread, which costs only 40 cents for on pound. Also, a large loaf of bread does not always weight more or contain more food value than a small loaf. Compare prices of equal weights of bread to find the better buy. The weight is shown on the wrapper.

Spaghetti, macaroni and noodles in packages marked “enriched” are more nutritious and usually cost no more than unenriched ones. Enriched rice is more nutritious than white milled rice. It costs more but the extra food value it provides is well worth the cost.

Ready-to-serve cereals in packs of small boxes are expensive. They may cost two or three times as much per ounce as the same cereal in a large box. Pre-sugared cereals cost more per ounce than unsweetened ones. Sugared cereals have more calories but less food value. Cereals you sweeten yourself are a better buy. Cereals you cook yourself almost always cost less than the ready-prepared ones.

It may help to know that day-old bread and baked goods may be bought at a great saving. Ask or watch for these in stores where you shop. Baked goods made at home are a good idea. They often cost less than ready-baked products. When made at home with enriched flour, they may have more nutrition, too.

So the next time you shop, make sure you are getting the most nutrition for the least money.

42. What to Do?

What happens to all the solid waste produced in the United States? Well, some of it is thrown away. It litters streets, roadways, the countryside and waterways. Some of it is burned in open air. Still some trash is left to sit in the open at garbage dumps. These dumps smell, look bad and attract rats and insects. Some of the trash is buried. Valuable materials that might have been reclaimed and reused are thus lost. Some of the buried waste can be harmful. It leaks deadly chemicals which poison the land and the water.

Waste is everywhere. Each year we throw away more than 7 million television sets. We junk 7 million old cars and trucks. We use and discard 48 billion cans and 26 billion bottles. We toss out 30 million tons of paper. Waste disposal costs us four and a half billion dollars a year. Something has to be done with all this trash and garbage. Even though we are not sure of the best way to get rid of trash, we must make an effort.

Open garbage dumps are the most common place we put our solid wastes. Therefore, it’s a good place to start. These dumps can be made better by turning them into clean landfills. In such a landfill, a layer of soil is applied daily over the waste. This helps to keep pests away and cuts down on the water pollutants that wash off in the rain. A landfill does away with the need to burn the waste, and this prevents wind-blown litter. When filled, the site can be planted with grass, shrubs and trees and made into a park.

But ordinary sanitary landfills may not stop waste matter from seeping through the soil and ruining water supplies. Dangerous waste matter needs landfills that are sealed in a special way to stop seepage. In the past harmful waste was burned. It was also dumped into waterways. But then pollution controls went into effect. More of these wastes showed up in landfills. The yearly amount of harmful waste is on the rise. Our health is threatened by the unsafe waste from these landfills.

There are good ways to get rid of most dangerous waste without harming health or the ecology. But costs of such disposal are high. Federal and state governments are working with business firms and citizens to solve these cost and waste problems.

41. Beware The Air

Can you see sky clearly where you live? If not, the air may be polluted. Polluted air can smell bad or look smoky. But pollution could also be there without your smelling or seeing it.

Air pollution comes from soot, fly ash and chemicals. These are released by auto exhaust, chimney smoke, burning garbage dumps, and substances sprayed in the air. Soot from burning fuel oil is the main pollutant that gives smoke its dark color. Fly ash is tiny ashes that go up and out of chimneys. They make smoke even darker. Chemicals of many kinds that you cannot see mix with the smoke. Smog, the eye-stinging haze that hangs over most cities, is produced when chemicals in the air mix with sunlight.

Air pollutants, such as soot and fly ash, settle down on things and make them dirty. Blown by the wind, air pollutants act like sandpaper and scratch away buildings and statues. Chemical air pollutants discolor and eat away materials. Can you find any change in the color of bricks on old buildings near where you live? Is there a statue in the park that is crumbling away? If you find these things, chances are that air pollution was one of the causes.

Plants are also harmed by air pollution. Their leaves may get dry. Brown spots may appear on them. Or the leaves may turn yellow and fall off. Orange and other citrus trees are especially hurt. Even house plants suffer from air pollution from cooking fumes.

Animals are also affected by air pollution. Cattle can get sick, and so can pets. For example, a small amount of some chemicals sprayed near an aquarium may kill pet fish. Care must be taken so that you and your pets are safe from fumes. Harmful fumes can come from may places. Fumes from paints, lotions, glue, cleaning fluids and other chemicals can be harmful.

Even a little air pollution can make your eyes burn and your head ache. It can tire you out. It can blur your vision and make you dizzy. It can also make it hard for you to breathe. Air pollutants can also affect people with asthma. It can make catching colds and flu more likely. Air pollutants have even been linked to some cases of serious diseases, such as lung cancer and heart ailments, thus making air pollution an evil to beware of.