Our home is our haven. It is that safe space in a tumultuous world where we can regroup
and connect with our spouses, our children, our families. It is part of the foundation from
which we create our future. Yet even our home contains safety hazards that can potentially
destroy the safe environment we work so hard to create. A 2015 report published by Safe
Kids Worldwide states that more than 10,000 children are seen in emergency departments
every day for injuries that commonly happen in the home.
Fortunately there are many simple things we can do to keep our families safe. Here is a short list.
- Stabilize staircases by ensuring they have solid handrails, secure flooring, adequate lighting and safety gates, if there are small children in the home
- Clear all debris from outside stairs and provide secured mats to make the surface less slippery.
- In the bathroom, secure rugs and put non-slip stickers on tub or shower floors. Install handrails to help the elderly or very young get in and out of tub or shower.
- Provide a space where toys and active gear, such as skateboards and sports equipment, can be stored so nobody can trip over them.
- Secure windows by installing window guards or window stops.
To prevent shelving or TVs from falling, secure them to the wall with brackets, braces, mounts or wall straps.
- Install fire alarms on every level of your home and check the batteries at least one a year.
- Ensure candles and matches are out of reach of children. Do not leave lit candles unattended.
- Unplug small appliances when they are not in use. Also, make sure that all appliances work well and do not have frayed cords. Don’t overload electrical outlets.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen or by the fireplace and check it once a year to ensure it is still working.
In case a fire does occur, have a home fire escape plan. Drill it regularly.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home.
- Prevent leaks by having any appliances that use gas, oil or coal (such as an HVAC system or water heater) serviced by a professional every year.
- Ensure toys don’t have any loose parts.
- Keep small items, such as the ever-popular tiny toys, nuts or hard candies out of reach so that small children can’t get to them.
- Use a baby monitor to listen in for signs of choking when children are playing in another room.
- For children under the age of four, cut up any food that can block the airways.
- So small children and pets can’t cut themselves on opened cans and lids or other sharp things that are thrown away, use a locking garbage can.
- Properly store all sharp kitchen tools, razors, scissors and all yard tools out of the reach of young children.
- Store the following items out of sight and out of reach: medications and supplements, paint, household cleaners, pesticides, turpentine, detergent and all personal care products. Use safety locks on cabinets, drawers and cupboards.
- For cords on window blinds, either trim, remove or wrap them up using special hooks.
- Always stay with a child when he or she is around a water source - be it the bathtub, the pool or a sprinkler. And always close the toilet lid and don’t leave buckets of water standing about.
Prevent Burns and Shocks
- Ensure the dishwasher is securely latched at all times.
- Use the back burners when children are present while you are cooking.
- Put on stove knob covers so young children can’t turn on burners.
- Cover electrical outlets.
Always Be Prepared
Follow these tips to safeguard your family. And in the event that an accident does happen, be prepared. Have to hand an first aid kit that will allow you to quickly and calmly tend to the injury or emergency.
There is much information about home safety. Please check out the following websites for further data, tips and how-tos.
- http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/household-checklist.html?WT.ac=ctg - for great safety checklists