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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Choosing Between a WaterCop or a FloodStop for Protection Against Water Damage

Question: about the WaterCop and the Flood Stop

Q:"Does Safe Home Products have an opinion as to the comparison between Water Cop and Flood Stop? I've read the product guides and understand the product's features. Which is more reliable or has the best track record? Thanks, David S"

Answer: Your decision needs to be made upon these factors:

1. What do you want to protect? A single appliance or several appliances? Floodstop makes single water appliance units for water heaters, washing machines, sinks, icemakers, etc.
2. What do you want to spend? A Floodstop unit currently sells for well under $200. Most sizes of the package of a WaterCop valve, actuator and 3 moisture sensors sells for under $550 at this time.
3. Are you hiring a plumber or are you doing the installation yourself? Many do-it-yourself persons can install the WaterCop themselves.
4. Have you a need to shut off all the water in your home with a single push of a button or remote wall switch? Remember that if a WaterHound moisture sensor alarm is activated, you will know by two ways, no water anywhere within that zone and a 65 decibel alarm.

Operational problems are extremely rare with either device. If you do not activate either devices at least every 30 days, you may have problems with the ball valve turning easily depending upon what kinds of minerals you have in your water.

If you have only one appliance to protect and it is, for example, a washing machine, the Floodstop is easily installed without the expense of a plumber. If you want to protect several appliances (as I did), the plumber is well worth the expense as is the additional cost for a WaterCop as the basic system comes with the valve, the actuator and three water/moisture sensors. And you can always add additional sensors to the unit for other appliances. When you add the cost of 3 or 4 Floodstops, you soon can approximate the cost of a single watercop. You can also buy a dual probe moisture sensor for the WaterCop and install it as I had done, under the water dispensing fridge and at the water entry point as well.

On the other hand, in apartment buildings or condos where each unit has its own water heater, installing a Floodstop in the 3/4 inch valve size is quite cost effective as several of our plumber customers who specialize in condo and high rise apartment buildings have concluded. And if your main worry is your washing machine, installing one of the two Floodstop units the standard AM-FS34H-90 or the INLINE Washing Machine FloodStop FS3/4H is all you may need.
Add a pair of Floodchek washing machine hoses and you are as safe as a person with a washing machine can be.

The Watercop is made by one of the nation's oldest and most respected ball valve manufacturers (USA Made). These brass ball valves are used in industrial applications. The Watercop is a recent (past 6 or 8 years) products.

The Floodstop is made in China or a similar place. The ball valve is high quality but made to commercial standards like those made by Dynaquip whose ball valves are used primarily in applications with chemicals.

I hope this helped to answer your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Lightweight, Cool Sun Hats for Babies and Kids Give 360 Degree Sun Protection

Question about Sunday Afternoon Sun Protection Hats for Children

Q: "I usually wear a baseball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes and wear sunscreen. My children ages 2 to 6 dislike having sunscreen applied to their faces and won't wear sunglasses for more than a few minutes at a time. They are quite active physically so most hats won't stay on. What are the odds that they'd wear the Sunday Afternoon Sun Hats? How do they stay on?" Thanks. Matt

Answer: First, please consider a Sunday Afternoon adventurer hat for yourself as your ears, neck and most of your face remain exposed with a baseball cap. When you don't need the neck protection, you can use the velcro to pull it off your neck onto the hat. It is great to not have to worry about sunscreen.

Next, take a look at the baby and child size hats on our website. We chose the most popular colors Sunday Afternoons offers in the bucket hat and the adventurer hats. These hats are almost featherweight and are quite comfortable to wear. For example, the baby hats and child sized hats are most popular in pink and in royal blue

Sun Hat features vary according to whether the hats are made for infants, babies or children:

* To reduce the risk of injury, the infant, baby and child sizes have a breakaway fabric chinstrap with a velcro closure for easy on and off plus a small buckle that adjusts for chin strap length.
* Infant and baby sized hats are solid fabric so as to prevent UV exposure on potentially bald baby heads.
* Child and youth hats have mesh sides for better ventilation.

Note that we don't sell the infant hats. Most infants are protected by stroller or baby carriage canopies and rarely exposed to direct sunlight. Currently, the demand for the sunhats for infants is close to zero because of that.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Locked Medready Timed Pill Dispensers for Hearing Impaired, Elderly or Complicated Drug Regimens

Question about the product HH-MR-1500FLLF MedReady Pill Dispenser With Flashing Light and Low Frequency Alarm.

Q: "My dad cannot hear higher frequencies of sound. He is getting forgetful and needs help remembering to take his pills three times each day. Is the MR-1500FLLF the best choice for him?" Thanks. David

Answer: Medready recognized the need for an automatic pill dispenser with dual reminders. So the 1500FLLF was created. The pitch of the alarm is at a lower frequency plus there is a flashing light reminder.

According to Mayo clinic websites, there now are hearing aids that can help those with high-frequency hearing loss. Those with high-frequency hearing loss have trouble hearing higher pitched voices such as women's and children's voices, and certain parts of speech, such as consonants.

Medready also offers these units:
  • HH-MR-P1500LF: MedReady Lower frequency alarm
  • HH-MR-P1550FLLF: MedReady Lower frequency alarm, flashing light and modem connection for remote monitoring.
  • HH-MR-P1500FL: MedReadyFlashing light alarm
  • MR-P1550FL: MedReady Automatic Pill Dispenser with Flashing Light and Modem Connection
  • HH-MR-P1500: Basic Medready unit with standard alarm at frequency of 2800-3000 Hz alarm.
  • HH-MR-P1550: Medready Basic Unit with Modem Connection
For those who live where AC power is 230VAC, Medready also offers units set for those power requirements. Medready offers a low cost monitoring service via computer link.

We do recommend an extra pill box insert if you or your pharmacy or home nursing service is filling the medications for your parent. Several state social services departments are utilizing the Medready units to help keep senior citizens healthy and to remain living in their homes as long as possible.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Inexpensive Steel Window Guards For Security and Child Safety

Question about the JS-1135-Q2, John Sterling Set of TWO WHITE 5 Bar Swing Open Window Guards

Q: "We are living in a starter home. The second story windows are very close to the floor. Each room has two double hung windows. We want to protect our children from falling through the screens since we live in California where we rarely use our air conditioning. Our windows are 38 inches wide and 42 inches high. Is this the correct size for our windows. We want safety but don't want to pay a huge price." Thanks Sara.

Answer: The John Sterling window guard you refer to is made of steel, white in color and tested to withstand a force of 150 pounds at maximum extension if properly installed. We sell this guard either in a single pack or a case of 2. Figure on no more than $140 for the pair including shipping (July 2009) unless you live in a very rural area.

The guard expands to fit a window that is from 24 inches to 42 inches wide. The height of the guard itself is 18 inches. Since a 4 inch opening is considered safe according to most building codes, each one of these guards can safely protect a window opening up to 22 inches if you allow 2 inches between the bottom of the side bar and the sill. Use a window stop if your window opens wider than 22 inches.

We recommend this unit for more permanent installations. The guard will swing open for cleaning. You can use the locking channel with a pin to make the unit more child and burglar proof. There is a safety release lever for quick opening. Remember that these units use long screws that can only be removed by drilling them out.

The John Sterling line of window guards includes non-opening units as well as ones made of angular steel for higher security.

Thank you for your question. If you decide to protect additional windows, we recommend that you email us a list of your window sizes, types, etc. so we can get you the best pricing and best shipping rates available.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Relief Band Versus TransDerm Patch Scopolamine for Motion Sickness

Question about benefits of using a Relief Band Motion Sickness Nerve Stimulation Device instead of a Scopolamine patch for motion sickness.

Q: "I am going on a cruise and am concerned about getting motion sick. My physician suggested the Trans Derm Patch. You put that on behind an ear and it is supposed to work for 3 days without drowsiness. What are the pros and cons of a Reliefband compared to the patch?"Thanks. Sara

Answer: Both products are widely used. Personally, my experience with the Trans Derm patch back in the 1980's was mixed as I was not motion sick but my vision was blurred somewhat. I had followed the instructions about carefully applying the patch. Later I used the Reliefband while riding the Ferris wheel, the carousel and several wilder amusement park rides with absolutely no motion sickness. I've also used it for flu nausea, headache nausea and to help with vertigo symptoms. All uses were successful.

This is from the manufacturer's website about the Trans Derm Patch:

Trans Derm Patch Information:
  1. A prescription is needed.
  2. Cost: currently $20 to $25 each.
  3. Applied to bare skin behind either ear. (Alternate if used for more than 3 days.)
  4. Not for children under 18 years old
  5. Not for people who have or have had glaucoma (increased pressure in the eyeball), have difficulty urinating, or an allergy to the active ingredient, scopolamine or other belladonna alkaloids.
  6. Side Effects: Dryness of the mouth: in about two thirds of the people. A less frequent side effect is drowsiness, which occurs in less than one sixth of the people. Temporary blurring of vision and dilation (widening) of the pupils may occur, especially if the drug is on your hands and comes in contact with the eyes. On infrequent occasions, disorientation, memory disturbances, dizziness, restlessness, hallucinations, confusion, difficulty urinating, skin rashes or redness, temporary changes in heart rate such as palpitations, dry itchy, or reddened whites of the eyes, and eye pain have been reported. If these effects do occur, remove the patch and call your doctor. Since drowsiness, disorientation, and confusion may occur with the use of scopolamine, be careful driving or operating any dangerous machinery, especially when you first start using the drug system.
  7. Effective for about 3 days.
  8. When using this product, do not use alcohol, drive, operate dangerous machinery, or do things requiring alertness.
  9. If you are elderly, your physician should exercise care in prescribing the Transderm Scōp® patch.
  10. Keep the patch dry, if possible, to prevent it from falling off. Limited contact with water, however, as in bathing or swimming, will not affect the system. In the unlikely event that the patch falls off, throw it away and put a new one behind the other ear.
  11. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after handling the patch, so that any drug that might get on your hands will not come into contact with your eyes.
Relief Band Information:
  1. No prescription needed: FDA approved for over the counter use for nausea or motion sickness prevention.
  2. Current Cost: $130 to $160 each.
  3. Worn on the underside of either wrist (or both wrists if desired). Applies periodic gentle nerve stimulation at one of 5 levels you choose.
  4. Tested on children age 12 or older. Can be used on younger children
  5. No side effects except for those with nickel allergies.
  6. Requires use of an inexpensive conductive gel. (Costs $6 to $8 depending upon size and brand.)
  7. Uses two CR2025 lithium batteries which last about 144 hours on level 3 stimulation. (Cost about $3 each).
  8. No restrictions on alcohol use, no drowsiness, no dizziness, etc.
  9. Use as prevention or to stop motion sickness. Positive results in about 99% of those using it within 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. No restrictions for the elderly
  11. Can be reused over and over for years. Wear it for 15 minutes or 24/7.
  12. Splash resistant: not waterproof
  13. Adjustable to fit even the smallest wrists. Customers report using them on young children with great success. We've had customers report great success with motion sickness from vertigo and similar ailments.
  14. Wear on either wrist.
Thank you for your interesting question. Enjoy your trip. Do remember that if you choose to drink alcohol, operate a car, etc. we do recommend the Reliefband over the prescription product.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Strength and Durability of Child Safety Banister Guard Plastic Child Safety Product

Question about the product Banister Guard 15 feet by 33 inches high, Product Code: =SF-BG15

Q: Does the plastic around the holes crack? Is the plastic very strong?" Thanks, Twig

Answer: We've sold this indoor banister guard product for about 9 years and never had a complaint about the plastic cracking. The plastic is quite strong. PET medical grade plastic. Once this is installed, it is tight to the banister so there should be no tearing. You cannot tear this: you have to punch the holes and cut with sharp scissors.

Several years ago, our family went skiing at Copper Mountain. The condo we rented had an indoor banister with about a 6 inch space between the uprights. I alerted the adults and the kids to the dangers. Nonetheless, my 4 year old grandson caught his head through the opening which resulted in a few minutes of panic before we extricated him. I left a message for the management company and wonder if they ever acted on the risk as a smaller child could actually hang himself if he went feet first.

Child Proofing Banister Guard Features:

* PET medical grade plastic.
* Easy to cut to fit with scissors.
* Attach to spindles and end posts with 50 lb. tensile strength cable ties (included).
* Use hole punch (included) for customized hole placement.
* Wall anchor screws (included) for optional wall attachment.
* 33 inches high.
* For indoor use only.
* Note: No UV protection: this material degrades from sunlight exposure.

This comes in lengths to 50 feet.

Easy Installation. Use scissors to cut shatterproof KidShield to fit. Remove protective clear film. Fasten Kid Shield to banister posts with cable ties. Secure ends to a wall or end post with screws (or around banister with cable ties). Plastic Kid Shield Banister Guard, cable ties, screws, hole punch and detailed instructions provided. Approximately one cable tie provided for every 9 inches of Banister Guard. Materials needed: Tape measure, straight edge, marker, scissors and Phillips head screwdriver.

I hope this answers your questions. Just remember to remove the protective film before installing.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Using Original TV Ears Wireless TV Headset with Hearing Aids

Question about the product Product Code: TV Ears Original System 10041 TV-10041

Q: "How are they hearing aid compatible? My parents both wear hearing aids and want to watch TV using a wireless headphone system. They want to leave their hearing aids in at all times while watching TV in case of company. This product looks awkard to put in your ears while hearing aids are in place. Please advise... Help!! Thanks.."

Answer: The headsets do work in conjunction with hearing aids. When I say they work in conjunction, I am basically saying that unlike other headsets you will not hear a large beeping or buzzing sound when trying to place them on top of your hearing aids.

If your parents would like to have a wireless headset and still wear their hearing aids, they have 2 options. I recommend the second option if your parents' hearing aids are T-Coil enabled.

1. Rest the TV Ears headset on top of their hearing aids while watching TV
2. Purchase our Neck Loop system.This would require purchases the TV Ears Pro Unit as that headset can communicate with a T-Coil enabled hearing aid. The Loop operates at 32 Ω (ohms) input w/ 3.5mm plug. This television hearing assist device is identical to the TV Ears with the added features of an input and output jack in the headset. The television head set jacks allow for the addition of many helpful accessories to the TV Ears unit. The link hangs around their neck and creates a temporary “looped” environment. In order for the Link to work with their hearing aid they will need to look to see if their hearing aids have a “T-Switch” on them.

If you choose either unit, please remember to purchase the second headset. Each TV Ears unit can handle up to 2 headsets.

Thank you for your question. Let us know if we can help you further.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Grip On Anti-Slip Solution Makes Concrete, Tile, Etc. Slip Resistant, Not for Hands

Question about the product 16 oz. Bottle Grip On Anti-Slip Solution SS0016

Q: "Can this be used on fingers/hands?" Carl
Answer: No, Grip-On is not for use on hands. To apply it to ceramic tile, concrete, marble, etc. to increase the coefficient of resistance to slipping, skidding, etc. , you should wear rubber gloves or be careful not to get the product on your hands.

Below is information from the Material Data Safety Sheet:

  • Chemical Name: Hydroxy Acetic Acid.
  • Physical State: Clear yellow, mild odor.
  • pH: 7.6.
  • Caution: Keep out of reach of children. Avoid eye contact. Wear rubber gloves. Use in ventilated area. Can be fatal if swallowed. Do not use on wood, vinyls or plastics.

  • Our feedback on this product has been completely positive. Applying the solution to my bathroom ceramic tile took only minutes. Since the product is clear and invisible after application, you don't have to worry about applying it "perfectly." I applied it over 3 years ago. It is great to get out of the shower or tub and not worry about hydroplaning with my wet feet.

    Thank you for your question.
    Sincerely, Barbara

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    Remote Switches and Back-Up Power for a WaterCop Automatic Water Valve Alarm Shut-Off System

    Question about the product Product Code:WaterCop 3/4 Inch Electric Ball Valve, 3 Flood Sensors WVA-075.

    Q: "Can more than one remote switch be installed to turn each Water Cop valve on and off. If there is a power failure does it remain in the on position if that is how it was set or is it able to shut off in the event of power failure? " Thanks. Don Smith

    Answer: With a splitter, each WaterCop can be controlled with up to two remote wall switches. If the power fails, the WaterCop remains in the operating position at the time the power failed.

    Your options are to remove the actuator and use a wrench to turn the valve on or off.

    Or you can install a UPS battery back-up unit. The manufacturer recommends the APC Model BE500R or its equivalent. That unit provides between 50 and 72 hours of power to the WaterCop with sufficient power to turn the valve once at the completion of your test.

    If you plan to use a back-up power supply, use only batteries in the moisture sensor units (Water Hounds) as the sensors send a radio signal to the WaterCop actuator. Batteries typically last at least one year.

    The manufacturer recommends that the Water Cop be activated at least once per month, i.e. press the red button to turn off the water and the green button to turn the water back on. That way you are sure the valve moves easily when you need it to open or close.

    Thank you for your question. I've had a WaterCop for over 7 years. Other than turning off and on the water for the plumber when he installed new faucets (and a shut off for my bathtub), I've never needed its protection, only its convenience! I have sensors under my water dispensing/ice making fridge, my dishwasher and sink and next to the washer, hot water heater, main sewer drain, water softener and A/C drain. I sleep quite well every night.

    Sincerely, Barbara

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