RE/MAX 440
Dale Joy
dalejoy1@verizon.net
Dale Joy
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
PH: 610-584-1160
O: 610-584-1160
C: 215-460-5153
F: 267-354-6852 
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Revitalize Forgotten Furniture with a Simple DIY Transformation

March 13, 2014 4:12 am

(Family Features) Putting your own flair into an old piece of furniture or thrift store find is a creative and budget-friendly way to transform unused items into personal treasures.

Refinishing old tables, chairs and other wooden items can instill new life, making these pieces functional and contemporary once more. Whether you’re repurposing a piece entirely, or simply updating the look, there are a few things to keep in mind:

• Color: Do you have a specific room in mind to use your selected piece? If you have a place already chosen, consider a colored stain to match the room’s décor. If not, a versatile wood tone may be a better choice.
• Product: Is this your first project? If so, water-based products can be a simpler, DIY friendly alternative to oil based stains and finishes. Will your “new” furniture be in frequent or casual use? To protect from wear and tear on daily-use items, be sure to finish your project with an appropriate sealant or protective coat. Interior stain and sealers offer a protective element built into the product, such as Cabot Premium Wood Finish, which provides rich color and tough, durable results.
• Preparation: Although you may be anxious to put your new treasure to use, taking time to properly strip and prepare your wood for its new finish will ensure the best results.

This DIY project, created by Beth Hunter, author of the blog “Home Stories A to Z,” shows you how to take a tired, outdated coffee table from attic to amazing in three simple steps.

Supplies:
Chemical stripper
Hand-held paint scraper
Tack cloths or lint-free rags
Rubber gloves
Safety glasses
Orbital sander with 60-, 120- and 220-grit discs
Interior wood stain and sealer product, such as Cabot Premium Wood Finish (in the ready-to-use or custom-tinted to your color of choice)
Painters’ tape
Paint brush
300 grit sand paper

1. Use a chemical stripper to remove heavy layers of paint, stain or varnish. Follow the label’s directions, allowing the stripper to sit for the designated amount of time and then gently scraping and wiping away the residue (tack cloth or lint-free rag is important, so you don’t leave particles behind).

Tip: Remember to wear gloves approved for chemical handling and eye protection, and be sure to set up your project in a well-ventilated area. A respirator may be necessary to ensure you don’t inhale too many powerful fumes.

2. Once your piece has been stripped, wiped clean with a damp rag and allowed to thoroughly dry, you are ready to sand. Although for some small projects sandpaper sheets will do, you’ll get the best results using a quality orbital sander (there are many options in the $50 to $100 range, well worth the investment if you’ll be doing more projects in the future).

Using the sander, start with a low-grit, coarse sandpaper (60 grit) and work up to the high-grit, fine paper (220 grit). The low grit takes off any remaining finish quickly and roughens the wood, while the finer grits smooth the wood and create a pristine surface. After sanding, use a tack cloth to wipe down your piece and remove the dust.

3. Now you are ready to add color. For this project, a series of colors in the new Cabot Premium Wood Finish line were used, including Mussel Shell, Stormy Teal, Riverbed and Coffeehouse. The products in this line are water-based stain and sealers so they dry quickly, and are good choices for a DIYer because they stain and protect at once while providing high-quality, beautiful results. These finishes also offer smooth application without the need for a primer or conditioner and a simple soap and water clean-up.

If you will be using multiple colors, as with this project, tape off areas to make crisp lines. Use a brush to apply the product, and allow to dry as described on the package directions. Use ultra-fine grit sand paper, such as 300 grit, to lightly sand the first coat. Finish with a second coat.

Tips: For a richer color, use the finest sand paper possible to remove as little stain as possible between coats. Apply more layers for a darker look, or only one coat for a distressed look.

For additional DIY project ideas for your home, including tips and how-to videos, visit www.cabotstain.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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8 Tips for Pet Parents on Suitable Etiquette for Pets

March 12, 2014 4:00 am

In preparation for getting outdoors this spring, Petco is helping pet parents refresh their manners with eight proper "pettiquette" tips for weather of all kinds.

1. Keep barking under control:
The pet parent with the barking dog is most likely not the most popular neighbor. Although barking is not always preventable, ensure pets receive proper training so they don't bark incessantly. Avoid leaving dogs alone for long periods of time, especially outdoors. Making sure pets have enough exercise and plenty of toys to provide mental stimulation will help curb barking.

2. Don't let cats wander: Although cats can exhibit very independent behavior, the outdoor cat that is always wandering into their neighbor's yard, may not be welcomed with open arms. Keep cats from visiting the family next door by providing them a cozy space inside the home with enough toys to keep them mentally stimulated throughout the day.

3. Keep the hair and smell at bay: When dining out with pets, ensure dogs are properly groomed to keep shedding to a minimum. A smelly dog shedding its winter coat is never pleasant near food so bathe pets regularly and use a shed control shampoo. When entertaining at home, make sure guests want to return by removing pet hair from furniture and smelling of the animal. Be sure the cat's litter box is scooped daily. Keep small animal and reptile habitats clean.

4. Clean up waste: Walking into the front yard and stepping in a pile of poop from a neighbor's dog can be upsetting. It may sound simple, but be sure to pick up waste when walking a dog. Products, like the eco-friendly Earth Rated Poop Bags, easily hook to the dog's leash making it simple to carry along on a walk.

5. Obey the rules
: Keep dogs leashed at all times while at parks and in other dog-friendly public places. Excited dogs who are off-leash may run and jump on people or children or hurt themselves by running away from their pet parent. Only take a dog off-leash at a dog park that allows it. Remember to obey all marked rules at the dog park and don't forget to close the gate behind you so other dogs can't escape.

6. Positive reinforcement is key: Barking orders is not the way to encourage a pet to behave, especially when it is done in public. Disciplining pets in front of others can make people uncomfortable. Instead, train pets by reinforcing good behavior with loving attention or a treat. Keep a calm tone and never raise your voice, especially when in public.

7. Use table manners: Never feed pets from the pet parent's lap or plate. Not only can certain people food be dangerous for pets, but this behavior can encourage pets to beg. Always feed pets from their own food bowl away from human consumption.

8. Not everyone loves animals: It may be hard to believe, especially since pets are such a part of family life, but not everyone is an animal lover. Some people may be allergic to dogs or cats and some can even fear animals. To avoid an unpleasant run in, never let pets run up to a stranger. When taking out other types of pets like birds, reptiles or rabbits, keep in mind that others may feel uncomfortable around these animals. On the other hand, these pets may attract more attention since they are not seen in public as often, so keep them safe by always encouraging strangers to ask before petting or handling them.

Source: Petco

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Freshen your Closet this Spring with These Tips

March 12, 2014 4:00 am

Spring is the perfect time to give your home a fresh start, and one of the best places to begin is with your clothes closets. Admit it: There are items lurking there that haven't seen the light of day in a very long time. Follow these tips from the cleaning experts at The Maids to rejuvenate your wardrobe and your storage spaces.

1. It's time to be ruthless and save only the items that you are excited to own and wear. Alternately, follow the one-year rule (or the two-year rule if you are a softie) and get rid of everything you haven't worn in that time period. The only exemptions should be for garments that hold special meaning for you. Gently worn items can be sold or donated to charitable organizations. Or, gather friends together for a clothing swap.

2. Some people might prefer to take everything out of the closet to begin the cleaning process. But if that sounds overwhelming, plan to break up the cleaning task over a few days. Sort out shoes one day, pants and skirts on another, and so on until you have examined everything. Launder any items that need it.

3. Organize the space in a way that makes sense to you. For instance, place warm-weather clothing on one side and cool-weather items on the other. Place like items together: all pants in one area, all jackets in another. Or you can group items by color.

4. Use containers to extend your space. See-through boxes are perfect for scarves, belts and jewelry. Hat boxes and old suitcases add personality to the space.

5. Vacuum or mop the floor; use a disinfectant to wipe down metal shelves and handles; and line drawers with paper.

6. If your closet is still full when you are finished cleaning, promise yourself that nothing new will go in until something old comes out.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Sowing the Seeds of Spring: How to Start your Garden Indoors

March 11, 2014 3:54 am

(BPT) - While cooler temperatures slowly fade, gardeners across the country eagerly await the arrival of spring - and the chance to get outdoors and grow something. If gardening is your passion, you don't have to wait until the weather is perfect to get started. In fact, working ahead by growing your own seedlings is a great way to ensure your garden is successful throughout the warmer months.

"Planting seedlings indoors before transplanting them into the ground is a great use of time and money," says Darin Brockelbank, owner of Metro-Greenscape, landscape design and outdoor specialists, and members of the Porch.com home improvement network. More than 1.5 million professionals participate in the network, offering services for more than 90 million projects. "Growing seedlings is something homeowners can easily do on their own and save their money to hire professionals for larger projects."

Starting your own seedlings offers many advantages, including the ability to get a jump-start on spring planting. Growing your own plants from seed is less expensive than buying small plants and provides access to a much wider variety of plants. The pros at Porch.com offer these tips for starting seedlings to get your garden growing:

* Selecting seeds

Some seeds can be planted and started indoors, while others need to go directly in the ground outdoors. As you're choosing seeds for your garden, read the packets thoroughly to ensure the seeds you're buying are appropriate for indoor planting. Be aware that many vegetable seeds need to be planted directly in the ground.

Most packages will also include information on what time of year to plant, so follow the guidelines for best results. In general, start seeds about six weeks before the last frost date. Check the Farmer's Almanac Frost Date Calculator to find out when that is in your area.

* Choosing containers

Seed starter kits are available for easy planting, but any container will do as long as it is about 2 to 3 inches deep and has drainage holes. Egg cartons and paper cups are inexpensive and easy options; be sure to poke drainage holes in the bottoms. Fill your containers with a good soil mix - never use regular soil from your yard. Seeds need just the right texture and mixture of nutrients to succeed. Covering your containers with plastic wrap or plastic lids will help keep soil and seeds moist.

* Setting the environment

In order to germinate, most seeds need a steady temperature of about 78 F. You can create localized warmth for seeds through use of electric heaters or heat mats placed under containers. You can also try placing containers atop warm appliances, such as a refrigerator, as long as they will also receive ample light in the location. Once seedlings push through the soil, you can move them to a windowsill where they'll get more natural light.

* Caring for seedlings

It's important to provide seedlings with constant moisture, but don't let the soil get soggy. If you used plastic wrap or covers, remove them from containers once seeds have sprouted. When leaves appear, begin fertilizing with a liquid fertilizer. Pay close attention to the dosage amounts recommended on the fertilizer packaging; seedlings are fragile. Check on seedlings daily until you're ready to plant them outdoors.

"If your plants begin to bud before you transplant them to the outdoors, wait to move them until they are fully bloomed,"-Brockelbank says. "If you transplant them while they are buds and cool weather hits, they could get frost bite and die. When it's time to transplant the seeds, make sure the soil is no cooler than 60 degrees."

Of course, not everyone with the urge to grow a garden has the time to invest or the green thumb to achieve it. If you find yourself lacking the resources to plant and care for seedlings, Porch.com has plenty of professionals who can help you get - and keep - your garden growing.

"The hardest part of planting seeds indoors is caring for them before they are transplanted," Brockelbank says. "Once they are transplanted, the plants should be very low maintenance."

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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5 Daily Tactics to Defy Aging in 10 Minutes or Less

March 10, 2014 3:45 am

(BPT) - Determined, vivacious, passionate - a lot of words describe America's estimated 78 million baby boomers. This spirited group is redefining their golden years, staying active by working, traveling and enjoying the great outdoors. They know that in order to live life to the fullest, they must make their health a priority, and many are dramatically affecting their personal well-being with a few key activities that take 10 minutes or less a day to complete.

Tavis Piattoly is a sports dietitian, expert nutritionist and co-founder of My Sports Dietitian. He stresses that small daily activities can have a cumulative effect on health, and therefore, encourages baby boomers to consistently stay active and eat well.

He suggests five ways boomers can keep their health on track in 10 minutes each day:

1. Quick exercises

"Exercise should be enjoyable, so whether it is a brisk walk, strength training or participating in a sport, enjoying what you do will increase your chance of sticking with that activity," says Piattoly.

He recommends boomers incorporate strength training into their workout routine to prevent loss of muscle tissues - a concern that increases with aging. Here are three simple exercises:

Chair squats - Use any chair and perform 10 to 12 repetitions standing up and sitting down. To increase difficulty, hold a light dumbbell to add resistance.

Wall push-ups - Place arms against a wall and perform 10 to 12 push-ups. If this is too easy, get into the push-up position on the floor, using your knees for support.

Dumbbell curls or soup-can bicep curls - Use a light to moderate weight dumbbell (2 to 10 pounds) and perform 10 to 12 bicep curls. Don't have dumbbells? Substitute soup cans.

2. Nutrient-dense foods
It takes only minutes to eat a snack or a meal, and what's on your plate fuels your overall health. Piattoly recommends starting with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables.

"As we age, our immune system is not as strong as it once was to fight off infections and illnesses, and fruits and veggies could play a big role in fighting off heart disease, cancer and age-related diseases," he says.

Next, Piattoly recommends eating lean protein like farm-raised eggs, extra lean beef or omega-3-rich salmon at every meal. "Since we lose muscle mass at a rate of around 1 percent per year starting at age 35, a diet rich in protein may minimize the rate at which we lose muscle," he says.

Piattoly also suggests a balance of healthy fats. "Focus on a mix of healthy fats from sources like olive oil, avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios and natural peanut butter."

3. Select supplements
"Omega-3 fatty acids, especially from fish oil, are beneficial for both brain and cardiovascular health," Piattoly says, noting that multiple research studies have demonstrated that fish oil supplementation is linked with lower levels of beta-amyloid protein, which may lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease.

In addition, research shows fish oil supplementation can reduce arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death, improve triglyceride levels, and increase HDL (good cholesterol). "I recommend taking between 2000 and 3000 mg per day of triglyceride-based fish oil. I personally take and recommend Nordic Naturals. They're the leading manufacturer of omega-3 supplements and all their products are tested for purity and safety."

Additionally, because between 50 to 75 percent of the population has a vitamin D deficiency, Piattoly recommends a vitamin D supplement. "Optimal levels of vitamin D may reduce your risk for cancer and heart disease, as well as improve bone health. Shoot for 2000 IU per day but be sure to speak with your doctor to determine how much you should take," he says.

4. Embrace technology
Numerous applications for smartphones and tablets make it easy to track your exercise progress, stay motivated and eat healthy. Best of all, most apps are free and only take a few minutes a day to use.

"I'm a big fan of MyFitnessPal, a nice fitness and nutrition app where you can track your activity and what you eat. You can visit www.myfitnesspal.com or download the app to your smartphone."

5. Be social
"One of the best things boomers can do is form a social network of friends who enjoy living a healthier lifestyle," says Piattoly. "Surrounding yourself with active people increases your opportunities for healthy activities. Habits are contagious, so associate with people who enjoy regular exercise."

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Latest Trends Heat Up Barbecue Industry

March 10, 2014 3:45 am

As the May-September peak outdoor cooking season approaches, consumers can expect to see grills, smokers and outdoor living products in high demand. The trends that will drive sales during 2014 and beyond include:

Wood Pellets on the Rise: Made from compressed sawdust, wood pellets are heating up grills and smokers across the country. An all-natural product, wood pellets produce a strong, slow-burning source of heat that gives a unique, smoky flavor to foods. This year, new wood pellet grills and smokers are making it easier to cook outdoors no matter what time of year. Wood pellets grills and smokers use a variety of pellet forms to create different smoky tastes, all with a simple and easy cleanup process.

Portability: Whether tailgating for the big game or cooking on the beach, portable grills and smokers make it easy to cook delicious foods wherever you want. Industry manufactures are making it easier to take the party anywhere—from parking lots to campsites—by making light-weight and durable grills and smokers. Collapsible, small portable parts and all-terrain features make it simple to cook and smoke foods on-the-go.

Ovens in the Outdoors: New innovations are making it easier to do anything you can do inside, outside. With outdoor gas and wood-fired ovens, cooking enthusiasts can make a pizza, roast vegetables, bake desserts, and more all from the convenience of the backyard. Outdoor ovens provide an extra cooking space during the holidays, and allow families to cook their favorite dishes while enjoying the outdoors any season of the year.

Keeping Accessories Organized: When entertaining in the outdoors, it's important to have everything you need right at your fingertips. New innovations such as countertops with drawer storage and drink coolers make it easy to enjoy any party outside. With full sinks, refrigerators and lighting, you can bring all the amenities of your indoor kitchen, outdoors.

Source: Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Valuable Fraud Prevention Tips for Homebuyers and Homeowners

March 10, 2014 3:45 am

March is Fraud Prevention Month. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has consistently been a leader in the fight against mortgage fraud and offers the following tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of mortgage fraud.

Misrepresentation of Information

Mortgage fraud occurs when someone deliberately misrepresents information in order to obtain mortgage financing that would not have been granted if the truth had been known.

This can include:

• Misstating one's position or inflating one's income or length of service at their job;
• Misstating employment status (ie. salaried/full time versus contract, part time, hourly or commission-based or self-employed);
• Misrepresenting the amount and/or source of the down payment;
• Purchasing a rental property and misrepresenting it as owner-occupied;
• Not disclosing existing mortgage and/or debt obligations;
• Misrepresenting property details or omitting information in order to inflate the property value;
• Adding co-borrowers who will not be residing in the home and do not intend to take responsibility for the mortgage.

Another common form of fraud is when a con artist convinces someone with good credit to act as a "straw buyer." A straw buyer is someone who agrees to put his or her name on a mortgage application on behalf of another person. In return for their participation, straw buyers may be offered cash or promised high returns when the property is sold. Often, straw buyers are deceived into believing that they will not be responsible for the mortgage payments.

Consequences of Misrepresentation

Borrowers who misrepresent information and straw buyers who allow a property to be purchased in their name are committing mortgage fraud and will be responsible for any financial shortfall in the event of default. They may also be held criminally responsible for their misrepresentation.

Reporting Fraud

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been the victim of mortgage fraud, please contact your local police department.

Source: CAAMP

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Americans Weigh In On Best Options for Updates to Nutrition Label

March 7, 2014 2:33 am

The FDA unveiled proposed changes to the 20-year-old nutrition label on food packaging. Changes include increased focus on calories, added sugar, critical vitamins and minerals, recalibration of the daily-recommended value of sodium, and how serving sizes are determined. Data show missed opportunities, as the top three most beneficial changes are not addressed in new design proposal.

A new poll from Heart+Mind Strategies shows the single-most beneficial change to the nutrition label to be a radical design change as opposed to what information is shared. Nearly one third of Americans (32 percent) reported creating a star or check system for each food (where more stars means a healthier food) would be the most beneficial to them personally.

Additionally, some of the least beneficial changes involve the new nutrition label, such as the increased emphasis on calories and revised serving size calculations. Full ranking of the changes tested for the poll follows:

• Creating a star or check system for each food (32 percent)
• Separating good fats from bad fats (19 percent)
• Ditching the metric system (14 percent)
• Separating out natural sugar from added sugar (14 percent)
• Calculations based on larger serving sizes (12 percent)
• Enhanced focus on calories (7 percent)
• Listing added wheat (3 percent)

Notably, all changes tested in the poll were public recommendations by a variety of experts, organizations, and individuals.

"People are always looking for a quick, reliable way to digest a lot of complex information," said Heart+Mind Strategies CEO Dee Allsop, Ph.D. and research consultant on two government labeling projects. "In point-of-sale environments from the car dealership to the grocery aisle, a picture really is worth a thousand words and enhances consumer confidence in the decision-making process."

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, more than 60 percent of Americans use the nutrition fact label when deciding to purchase food. Yet Heart+Mind Strategies found just over one-quarter (28 percent) report the nutrition label as being the most important decision-making influencer when buying food—taste is the leader (39 percent) and price just barely trails nutrition (26 percent).

When it comes to food and diet in general, Americans are predominantly focused on what they put in their bodies (70 percent) as opposed to what they keep out (30 percent). And more than half the country (53 percent) considers themselves the best judge on whether or not a food is right or wrong for them. Importantly, the nutrition label has the second most influence on that diagnosis (41 percent), while a doctor's recommendations bear relatively little weight on that decision at all (6 percent).

People are making food choices in a broad range of settings every day, from a grocery store or vending machine to restaurants or their own homes. Whether looking for something convenient, filling, or quick, there is always competition. The new nutrition label must not only be easy to understand, but easy to see (from say behind the vending machine glass or top shelf of the store), and quickly comparable to other choices.

Source: Heart+Mind Strategies

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Learning the Difference between Mold Contractors

March 7, 2014 2:33 am

Mold removal in a home or business is an expense that most property owners do not plan for. However, when toxic mold spores infest a residential or commercial building due to excessive moisture, flooding, sewage backup, or any other water damage, remediation is necessary to prevent harmful health risks to occupants of the property as well as preventing deadly structural damages to the building itself. Due to the inherent health risks, mold remediation is part of an industry that is heavily protected by third-party governing bodies like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning Certification (IICRC) as well as the United Sates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA.

Hiring a mold removal contractor is a process in which property owners must exercise extreme precaution before choosing the right company for the job. Finding the right contractor means more than finding the best bargain price for services. Residential and commercial mold remediation requires certified technicians and project managers to carefully map out a scope of work while completing the service with precision and caution. Knowing the difference between mold contractors who follow these strict guidelines as opposed to the general restoration companies who may potentially cut corners to save time and money can save property owners a lot of time, money, resources, and property damage.

First and foremost, proper containment must be set up in order to ensure the safety of the property's inhabitants as well as to prevent the spread of the toxic fungus to other areas of the home or business. Setting up suitable containment can only be learned via certification courses offered by third-party governing bodies of the restoration industry like the IICRC. Without utilizing proper training techniques or adhering to the IICRC's S520 Guidelines for Mold Remediation, home and business owners risk their health as well as the structural integrity of their infested property.

Another detail that highlights the difference between mold contractors and general contractors only attempting to remove mold is the use of chemicals and cleaning agents that should not be utilized when dealing with the eradication of toxic mold. The EPA and OSHA have devised a precise list of safe and eco-friendly cleaning agents that should be used during mold remediation. Many of these cleaning agents are deemed safe enough to use in hospitals and schools around the U.S. If a general contractor is unaware of the IICRC Guidelines and practices, it is likely that harsh, unapproved chemicals may be used during the mitigation process.

Source: SI Restoration

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Parents Urged to Check Their Window Coverings

March 7, 2014 2:33 am

The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is reminding parents and caregivers of the potential dangers posed by window cords, and is urging them to only use cordless window covering products in homes with young children. Owners and renters alike should replace all corded window coverings in their homes with today's safer products.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes, with infants and children dying each year from accidentally strangling in window cords. Some of these incidents involve older products that are still in use and do not have the safety devices or designs instituted in the past decade.

"Parents who replace their window coverings with the cordless products available can feel more confident about their child's safety," explains WCSC Executive Director Peter Rush.

To maximize window cord safety when young children are present, consumers are urged to follow these safety guidelines:

• Install only cordless window coverings in homes with young children. Replace corded blinds, shades and draperies with today's safer products.
• If you cannot install newer products, order a free window cord retrofit kit from www.windowcoverings.org. The installation of the retrofit kit is not intended to be a substitute for installing cordless products in homes with young children.
• Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.
• Ensure that all window cords are out of sight and reach, and that they are inaccessible to young children.

Source: Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC)

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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