Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Floating Gator Head and Coyote Decoy Get Rid of Geese

Question about the 25 inch long Floating AlliGator Heads and getting rid of geese.

Q: "I live in Cordova, Tennessee. I have a swimming pool and a pond that is about 1/3 of an acre. Every year at least one pair of geese invade: I think the offspring plus the original parents. They nest, hatch their goslings and leave piles of goose droppings on my lawn and sometimes not just in the pond but in my swimming pool. I'd like to shoot them but my wife won't let me. The local park has had good luck with the Floating Gator Head. What do you think?" Thanks. Joe.

Answer: I do recommend at least one of the 25 inch long Floating Gator Heads. Joe and I spoke on the phone: he was ready to buy a Goosebuster repeller until his wife realized it would be noisy and objected! We also discussed the Goosechase spray for the yard. What he decided on and purchased was one Floating Head plus a 3-D Coyote replica. (Coyote replicas work great to scare off ducks, too.) Joe has a fenced in yard so he was not concerned about the Coyote wandering off during the night like the ones did at the local park!

Joe has agreed to let me know the results.

Thanks again for you question, Joe.


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Monday, March 9, 2009

Fitting a Child Gate or Pet Gate to a Wider Doorway

Question about the JPMA and Consumer Products Safety Commission approved Cardinal Gates: Metal Pressure Gate, Duragate MB-25, Stairway Special Gate SS-30A Clear Plastic and Metal Gate CP-30 and Auto-Close Self-Locking Safety Gate MG-15B.

Q: " How do I choose the correct gate for the wider doorways in my home? I have dogs and babies who need separation. I'm not sure which gate to buy." Thanks. Janet

Answer: I recommend these actions:

  1. Accurately measure the actual door way openings with a metal retractable tape.
  2. Look at the maximum doorway fit of each gate without an extension.
  3. Decide whether you want a gate that permanently mounts, one that can accept height extensions to keep larger dogs in or out of rooms, etc. Several different gates may meet your specs.
  4. Subtract the gate maximum width from the doorway opening.
  5. Choose 1 or more width extensions, 10.5 inches and 21.75 inches to fill in that missing space for the Duragate, the Stairway Special and the Auto-Close Gates. For the metal pressure gate, there are 5 inch and 10.25 inch extensions.

For example, if your door opening is 52 inches:

  • The steel Duragate fits a maximum opening of 41.5 inches. Subtract the gate from the opening and your distance left is 10.5 inches. The SF-BX-1WH is a 10.5 inch extension for 41.5" to 54" openings. Choose one of this extension.
  • The white self-locking baby gate MG-15B fits a maximum opening of 40.5 inches. There is an 11.5 inch gap which means you would need the wider extension 21.75 inch Extension SF-BX-2WH for 0penings 51 inches to 61.75 inches.

If your doorway opening is 72 inches:

  • All Steel Duragate: Your distance left is 30.5 inches. Subtract 41.5 inches from the 72 inch opening. Now subtract 21.75 from the remainder. You have 8.75 inches left. So you need one of the BX-1 and one of the BX-2. I also recommend a T-Bar support.
  • Auto Close Aluminum Gate MG-15B: Your distance left is 31.5 inches. Subtract 40.5 inches from 72 inches. Then subtract 21.75 from the 31.5. You still need one each of the extensions plus a support.

Gates are not recommended for children over 24 months old.

If you need help, please email us at with your measurements, color preference, gate preference (pressure, clear, steel, autoclose, stairway, etc.). We'll send you our recommendations and you can order on line or phone us.

Thanks again for your question. Sincerely, Barbara

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Replacing an Evac-u8 Smoke Hood for Fire Safety in an Office

Questions about the Safe Escape Smoke Hoods, 30 minute and 60 minute versions.

Q: "My company has offices in a high rise office building. We checked expirations on our Evac-u8 smoke hoods, checked on line and realized these were recalled several years ago. We need to replace them. What do you suggest?" Thanks. Steve

Answer: I recommend that first decide on 30 minutes or 60 minutes escape time and then on a hard or a soft case. Your 30 minute choices are the 30 minute hard case Safe Escape Smoke Hood or the 30 minute soft case Safe Escape Smoke Hood.
Your 60 minute choices are the 60 minute hard case Safe Escape Smoke Hood or the 60 minute soft case Safe Escape Smoke Hood.

We, too, were surprised when all Evac-u8 smoke hoods made during a 6 year time frame were recalled by Brookdale International, a Dupont company. We learned recently that the reason was that the units, which resembled a sealed transparent soda pop can, were leaking air which was causing the filters not to function properly.

Once a privacy statement was signed by Brookdale, our customer list was given to them and they handled customer notification and recalls.

The units we are selling currently are made in China by Safe Escape. These are vacuum sealed in a plastic bag so don't remove them for examination or they will not function properly when you need them.

Please contact us with the number of fire hoods you need and we can quote price plus shipping costs. We typically stock several cases of each on site in Iowa.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Are Dog Life Vests Necessary for Boating Safety?

Question about the Dog Life Vests for boating.

Q:" I adopted a 40 lb. Lab mix from the animal shelter. I like to spend my week-ends in the summer boating. My friends say she needs a life vest. I thought dogs were natural swimmers. Is this really necessary? If it is, what do you suggest?" Thanks Joe.

Answer: I, too, recommend a life vest. Our 40 pound pound puppy loved to ride in my Dad's boat on Crooked Creek in Western Pennsylvania. Crooked Creek was 200 to 400 feet wide in most places. Sometimes, Rinty jumped into the water when the boat slowed for passing boats, swimmers, etc. Usually he swam to shore and raced us home along the bank except when the bank was steep or he swam in circles. Getting a wet 40 pound dog into the boat was a struggle: sometimes we waited until he was exhausted to drag him in.

Most dogs enjoy boating. The problem comes when the dog jumps or falls into the water and the shore is distant or it takes time to return to get your dog. A doggie life jacket keeps the dog floating if she is tired or injured from the jump and makes it easier to pull her into the boat.

Life jackets are sized according to the weight and girth of the dog. So you have sizes extra small (dogs up to 15 lbs.), small for dogs 15 to 19 pounds, medium for dogs 20 to 50 pounds, largefor dogs 40 to 70 pounds and extra large for dogs over 70 pounds. Measure the girth to determine the size if your dog falls into several size categories.

The bright orange color let you see her better in the water. Do consider if you have the physical strength to pull a dog from the water. Dogs are prone to struggle making the task harder.

We recommend the life jackets with a grab handle to help pull the dog from the water. The Kyjen are made of tough 600 denier nylon fabric with adjustable chest and neck Velcro flaps. There are quick release buckles and a Neoprene belly band to help keep your dog warm in the water.

Hope this helps with your situation. Remember the importance of restraining a dog when in a moving vehicle of any kind. We recommend dog car seats with restraints for smaller dogs and car seat vests for larger animals. Both have safety straps that attach to car seat belts.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Buying a Dog Door Bell that Sounds Like a Barking Dog

Question about the Pet Chime.

Q: "I have a quiet dog, virtually a non-barker. I need to know when she has to go outside to potty. Where can I find a dog door bell that sounds like a barking dog? Does the Pet Chime bark?" Thanks. Joe.

Answer: I recommend the Pet Chime by Lentek-Koolatron. We've been selling the Pet Chime for many years. You can choose either a door chime sound or a barking dog sound. Training most dogs to push the Pet Paw to activate the Pet Chime is usually quite fast, especially if you are associating the pushing and the going outside with a great tidbit of dog treat. You can buy extra Pet Paws if you want one outside or at several doors. Of course, the chime is the same so you may get some exercise going from door to door unless your dog comes when you call her!

The Pet Paw takes one 9 volt battery and the receiver chime takes 3 AAA batteries. Do protect the Paw from rain or snow unless your dog will push it when in a watertight bag.

Thanks for your question. Enjoy your dog.

Sincerely, Barbara


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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

BonaKemi Commercial Floor Mop with Disposable Pads or Microfiber Pads

Question about the Product BonaKemi Hard Surface 24 Inch Commercial Floor Mop Kit.

Q: "We have a computer store in a strip mall in a Pittsburgh suburb.Despite floor mats at the door, dirt gets tracked in by our customers. We have a cleaning company come once a week but the floor often needs cleaned every day. Do you think this mop kit would be a good choice for a fast floor cleaning? We don't want to deal with taking mop covers home to launder them." Thanks. Lynn.

Answer: I recommend this commercial floor mop kit for quick cleaning of larger areas. With a 24 inch mop head and disposable covers, this mop cleans quickly and no one has to launder grimy covers. In this mop kit, you also get 25 disposable covers, a sturdy telescoping handle and a 32 ounce spray bottle of commercial hard surface floor cleaner, also from BonaKemi. Additional packages of disposable covers are available in packages of 50 or cases of 300. For those of you who have laundry facilities available, I recommend the Dust Mop Covers and the Microfiber Wet Mop Covers that can be washed and dried hundreds of times.

We also sell concentrated commercial hard wood cleaner and concentrated commercial hard surface cleaner in gallons. That dilutes 8 parts water to 1 part cleaner so you can easily refill the spray bottle and reuse about 36 times. If you have hardwood, select the commercial mop kit with hardwood cleaner instead of the hard surface cleaner.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Can I Apply Bona Kemi Floor Cleaner with a Dust Mop?

Question about 32 oz. Spray Bona-X LAMINATE HARD SURFACE Floor Cleaner.

Q: "Dear safehomeproducts, Can I use this cleaner with just a regular dust mop? Or does it have to be a special type of covering for the mop? What I do now is spray the cleaner, damp the mop, and mop away......afterwards, I remove the cloth from the mop and throw it in the washing machine. Thanks Andrea"

Answer: I do not recommend using a regular dust mop for two reasons. First, if it is acrylic yarn, dirt, particles of food, grit, etc can get caught up in the yarn and cause scratches on the floor.

We recommend that you vacuum, sweep the floor with a soft broom or dust with a clean dust mop. We sell dust mop covers that are made of microfiber and release the particles when they are laundered. The two flat knit microfiber covers are from Bona Kemi and from Sh-mop, blue one and a yellow one. There is also a longer fibered white microfiber cover that fits the Microplus mop.

Then use a cotton covered Sh-Mop, microfiber covered Bona Mop or Micro-Plus mop and actually clean the floor. That way you will have a shining floor and avoid scratches. As the covers get soiled, replace them with clean ones. Then launder in the washing machine. Both types of fabric both grab the dirt into the fibers and release all the particles, etc. in the wash.

Remember that this Bona floor cleaner is great to clean your formica, stone or other sealed surfaces, too.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Will Each Section of a Lentek 6 Day Pet Feeder Hold a Rawhide Chew?

Question about the product Product Code: ES-LK-PD06G Lentek Koolatron 6 Day Pet Feeder Dish)

Q:"Would like to know the individual dimensions of the each feeding dish/section (of the Lentek Koolatron 6 Day Pet Feeder Dish). Will each section accommodate a rawhide chew stick? " Thanks. Jenny

Answer: Thank you for your interesting question. Thanks to you these measurements are now on the Safe Home Products' website.

I measured a compartment (all are identical). Each compartment is a segment of a circle with the top part cut off. An individual compartment is 5 inches across at the widest (cut across the arc), with each side 3.5 inches and 1.5 inches across at the top. The tray depth at the arc front is about .75 inches and increases to about 1.3 inches deep at the back (center of dish).

A short, stubby, rawhide chew stick would fit. Each of the six food trays can hold 2/3 cup dry or 5.5 ounces of moist food.

Sincerely, Barbara


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