Keeping your home safe is important for you and your family. Home accidents cause about 20,000 deaths and millions of injuries in American homes every year. Below is a checklist of some ways you can prevent common household mishaps in your home.
In All Places
- Keep areas well-lit. Make sure you don’t have to walk through the dark to turn on a light.
- Put smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level of your home and test them twice a year.
- Place carbon monoxide detectors outside each sleeping area, and on each level of your home (including your basement).
- Have study handrails on all stairs.
- Stair steps should also be wide enough for an entire person’s foot.
- Have an escape plan in the event of a fire or other disaster. Think about two ways to get out of the house in case one way is blocked. Practice the plan with your family.
- When you create an escape plan, pick multiple areas (one close to the house, another a few blocks from the house, and one in another town) to meet in the event of a larger disaster or if family members are separated.
- Water heaters should be set at no hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help avoid scalding.
- Taller furniture, such as bookshelves and televisions, can fall if they are pulled. Securing these objects to the wall can prevents such accidents.
- Houses built before 1978 may still have lead in house paint and pipes. Be sure to check with your housing authority for these records
- Keep guns in locked safes and do not give children access to these safes.
In The Kitchen
- Put one fire extinguisher in the kitchen and another one on every floor. Make sure your family knows how and when to use them.
- Keep cabinets locked or use a babyproofing cabinet strap if you have pets or small children.
- Place items such as knives and glass objects out of children’s reach.
- Never leave a stove on and unattended.
- When using a stovetop, make sure pot handles are turned away from other burners and toward the back of the stove to avoid spilling hot liquids.
- Keep stools and chairs away from the stove so children can’t climb up (and to prevent you from tripping on them.)
- Keeping the stove and oven area clear of clutter and clean of grease can prevent fires.
In The Bathroom
- Keep cleaning products locked and away from children.
- Placing nonslip pads in the bathtub can prevent falls.
- Use nonslip strips on the bottom of bathmats to prevent slips.
- Make sure all items like hairdryers, curlers, razors, and nail clippers are locked and secured away from children.
- Keep prescription medication in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave a young child unattended in a bath.
- Use a nightlight to prevent falls.
In The Living Room and Bedrooms
- Have an extra telephone handy. Remember that a cordless phone may not work in the event of a power outage and cell phones lose battery power.
- Keep emergency numbers, such as a hospital, fire department, and your doctor’s number in an easy to find location and programmed in your phones.
- If a bedroom is on the second floor, installing a fire ladder may be important.
- Keep a lamp and/or a flashlight near each bed.
- Make sure your house numbers are visible from the street so emergency responders can find you.
- Trim trees and shrubs that can obscure windows and provide places for potential burglars to hide.
- Consider installing motion-sensitive floodlights, especially in the backyard.
- Carefully examine outside air and heating events, especially after a storm. Keeping the vents clear can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- When childproofing your home, consider crawling on your hands and knees throughout your home to evaluate what hazards are available from their point of view. This can help you see what small objects can be choking hazards, open outlets, and other dangers.
- Teach children their address, your name, and how to call 911.
- Keep dangerous items, such as knives, guns, household cleaners, and matches locked and far away from a child’s reach.
- Use outlet caps to cover electrical sockets.
- Be sure that children, especially babies in cribs, cannot get wrapped in cords from window blinds.
- Keep cribs and toddler beds away from windows. Blind cords can be a choking hazard, and windowsills may have lead paint or dust on them, which can cause breathing problems.
- Along with clutter, rugs can also cause falls. Consider taking out rugs or putting in carpet to avoid slips.
- Make sure carpet is tight to the floor with no tears or rips. Additionally, using low-pile carpet prevents snags.
- If you have changes in floor elevation or steps, make sure they are well-lit and marked.
- Check if your stairs could easily become ramps if needed.
- Having light switches at the top and bottom of stairs can prevent falls.
- See if walkways and doorframes are wide enough to accommodate a walker or a wheelchair.
- Have phones that could be reached if you are on the floor.