Home safety is a serious issue. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents or unintentional injuries were ranked as the fifth leading cause of fatalities in the USA. Although your insurance policy may limit your liability, the best action you can take is to safeguard your home to prevent accidents, particularly in these five danger areas.
1. In the Kitchen
Those cleaning products under the sink contain chemicals. If there are children in the house, secure the cabinet doors. Cooking can be another source of danger. In case of fire, have a fire extinguisher handy and ready for use. Always keep handles of pots with boiling water turned away from the front of the stove.
2. On the Stairs
Nearly thirty percent of all home accidents happen on stairs. Make sure they are uncluttered and the railing is secure. Outdoor stairs as well as sidewalks and driveways can be slippery after a rain or snowfall and also pose an increased risk for a fall.
3. In the Bathroom
Even vitamins can be dangerous in an overdose. Keep all medications out of children’s reach and, considering the high incidence today of addiction to pharmaceuticals, inaccessible to teenagers or visitors. Another danger: both children and adults can be scalded by too hot water in the sink or tub. The recommended setting for your hot water heater is 120° F.
4. Heating Sources
CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) estimates about 140 people die each year from unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide. This odorless and colorless poisonous gas causes headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. Have your furnace checked annually. Keep the damper open on your fireplace. Install a CO detector along with smoke alarms, making sure you replace batteries as recommended. Be especially cautious with space heaters that can cause burns or start fires.
Again, children are at high risk wherever there’s water, whether it’s in a pool or even in a bucket. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water. So never leave youngsters unsupervised outdoors. Also keep your driveway clear of toys and other clutter as a precaution against someone backing up a vehicle. Never bring a charcoal grille or a generator to use indoors because of the danger of carbon monoxide.
Give your home your own safety inspection to determine where your danger areas are. Is there furniture in the way of a smooth traffic flow? Are there wires around your computer that could cause someone to stumble? Are there rugs that slide easily and can also result in a fall? Are there small items that young children might swallow and choke on? If you’re hiring a contractor to work in your home, have you checked that he or she carries insurance in case of an accident? Just remember the Boy Scouts motto: be prepared!