A person can never expect to make it through life without ever being injured, but there are certainly precautions we can all take to make our homes a little safer. Here five likely hazard areas you can check yourself on to see if your home is as safe as it can be. Call it idiot proofing, or baby proofing. These are common sense suggestions, but often we neglect these things because we all know how to navigate our own home, and we don’t expect to have an accident.
STAIRS … The stairway is a common area for accidental falls. Whether it be a stumble on your shoelace or a simple miss step. To avoid more serious injuries take a look at the bottom of the stairs. Remove dangerous furniture items, and have padded carpeting at the bottom. Be sure to have secure handhold railings and inspect the stairs for wear or damage and keep them well maintained.
BATH TUB/ SHOWER… Slips and falls in the bath tub result in a lot of home injuries. There are non-skid decals you can adhere to your tub floor. Install handhold bars to assist with getting in and out. Keep nothing electrical plugged in where it can fall into the water. Set your water heater at a temperature that will not scald you accidentally.
DECKS/ PORCHES/ WALKWAYS… Slips and falls on decks, porches and walkways (particularly when icy conditions are present) present a big hazard. Make sure any railings or handholds are secure and in good repair. Look for uneven pavement or cracks or frost heaves and repair the area. Check for loose or rotten deck boards, and keep them maintained. Put a non skid surface on the high traffic area. This can be indoor-outdoor carpeting or rough surfaced decals.
ELECTRICAL HAZARDS… Always have working smoke detectors (check the batteries twice a year). Make certain you know where your fuse/ breaker box is, and have a clear unobstructed pathway to it. Have at least two fire extinguishers in the home (One in the kitchen and one near your fuses / breakers) Another fire extinguisher near the water heater and washer dryer wouldn’t hurt either. If you have small children or animals that might get near outlets or cords, arrange your furniture in a way that would make access to low outlets difficult. Use low wattage light string if you use any lights on a Christmas tree.
WINDOWS… If you have small children who do not understand the dangers of falling out a 2nd story or higher window, their windows should be secured shut. On the first floor, you should have access to windows in case you need to exit them in an emergency. Don’t make furniture obstacles that make escape impossible. If you live next to a golf course or baseball field, have shatterproof glass installed on windows that face the action. Be especially careful if you have small children that the pull strings for the blinds do not present a strangulation hazard.
I hope some of these thoughts have been of help. A spoonful of prevention is worth a pound of cure.