As kids grow up, parents may find it hard to let go. They may become more and more protective as the kids want to go out more and more into the big, dangerous world. However, many families don’t realize that some of the most dangerous areas can be found within their own home.
From unprotected outlets to dangerous items or chemicals that aren’t stored properly, there are many things around the home that can be harmful. It isn’t just a concern for children either. As people grow older, they may feel impervious to doing the misguided things that children do without realizing the danger. It is important for adults to realize the danger of some actions and products that we may use without thinking twice about it.
Home Safety Hazards to Be Aware Of
Many times, we are under the impression that our house is fortified, we are protected within its walls. It is very easy to forget about areas that may present dangers around the home, especially if there are no young children that are generally around. However, certain hazard areas can be just as dangerous for adults as children. Here are some of the main areas to pay attention to when trying to protect your home.
Areas that are high up and easily accessed will need to be examined for the possibility of a harmful fall. The Home Safety Council has found that falls account for more than 40% of nonfatal home injures and a third of all unintentional home deaths.
Hazard Tip #1: When looking for areas to protect from falls, check windows first. Put a guard on windows to keep them from easily opening, or a screen over the windows to keep someone from easily falling through.
Hazard Tip #2: If you live in a multi-level house, be aware that staircases are one of the most dangerous areas in terms of potential falls in a home. If there are children in the house, be sure to use safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. It is also best to keep the staircase clear of any clutter and have handrails installed.
Hazard Tip #3: The last tip to keep areas safe from falling is to keep an eye on areas that have the potential to be highly slippery. If you live in a cold area, be sure to keep sidewalks salted to keep from slipping on the ice. In the shower, it might help to install a non-slip rubber mat to keep people of any age from slipping inside.
Having chemicals poorly stocked or set in areas that are easy to reach is extremely dangerous if you have children or pets. People often think of cleaning chemicals when they are looking to protect their home. However, just as common as getting into cleaning products is getting access to health-related drugs.
Hazard Tip #4: Keep a safety lock on your medicine cabinet. Even as kids get older, you may want to keep the medicine cabinet closed with an actual lock and key to protect against any accidental or purposeful misuse of a drug.
Hazard Tip #5: Don’t just keep a child lock on any areas that may contain cleaning supplies and other chemicals, keep them up high or away from areas that are easily accessed.
If someone does end up getting poisoned, call your doctor and poison control immediately! Poison control: 1-800-222-1222
Fire and Cooking Hazards
Cooking hazards are heavily related to the high number of fires and burns that happen in a home. It is slightly more difficult to guard against these kinds of accidents since they have the potential of occurring each time material is taken out to cook with.
Hazard Tip #6: Use the back burners first to keep the heat away from children that are tall enough to reach up to the top of the stove or people that may unknowingly lean against the stove. Be sure to turn all burners off immediately if you are not using them.
Hazard Tip #7: If you are using a stove, never walk away from it while it is in use. If you are using a gas stove, be sure that the gas is completely off before you walk away from it.
Hazard Tip #8: Install smoke alarms throughout the house to be immediately aware of any fire that may be occurring.
Hazard Tip #9: Use baking soda to throw over a kitchen fire. You can also use a pot lid to cover it and keep it contained.
Hazard Tip #10: If your home contains a home sauna, be sure to have good control over the temperature of the room. Also, make sure that it is not located next to any walls or coverings that may easily start on fire with heat or friction.
Drowning hazards may not be as common as some of the other hazards we have covered before, but they do still account for a fifth of deaths that occur accidentally in a home. Most of these occur in bathtubs and swimming pools. If you don’t have a swimming pool, then concentrate on protecting your bathroom.
Hazard Tip #11: Never leave children alone in a bathroom unsupervised. If you are not going to be around, be sure to keep the toilet lid closed and the door shut.
Hazard Tip #12: A pool is highly dangerous if small children have easy access to it. You may need to put up a fence with a locked gate to keep children away from the pool without supervised attention.
There are many pieces of equipment that adults use that are more dangerous than they may consider them to be. A lot of these are bigger pieces of machinery or tools that may easily be mishandled or improperly stored.
Hazard Tip #13: When using home equipment, be sure to read the user’s manual before assembly. Things like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, and especially mulchers, can be extremely dangerous if not used properly. Never stick anything into one of these machines that isn’t meant to be there.
Hazard Tip #14: Keep tools and equipment stored away safely. Do not put ladders in a position where they could be tipped over and keep electrical machines unplugged if they are not immediately about to be used.
General Home Safety Tips and Tricks
We have worked through some of the top hazards that lead to accidental deaths within the home. This final list of tips is meant to help you prepare your home overall for anything like theft to emergencies.
General Hazards Tip # 15: Online Safety
Be very careful with what you share online. Getting information from posts people put online about their upcoming vacations. Also be sure that what you are posting, both pictures and text, don’t give evidence of any weak point in your home security that could be used to enter easily. Don’t use an “out of office reply” on your personal email since this pinpoints when you will be gone. Turn off geotagging on your camera as well to stop strangers knowing where you live.
General Hazards Tip #16: Think Like a Burglar
When checking to see if your home is safe to break-ins, it will help to think of how you might break in if you had to. For many of us, there have been moments that you have forgotten your keys and may have needed to figure out a way in. Use this situation, or a hypothetical one if you are lucky enough that this hasn’t happened to you. Think of how you might get in and then protect that area of your home.
General Hazards Tip #17: Have a Fire Safety System In Place
When it comes to fire safety, you can never be over-prepared. Just like schools and office buildings are required to have an exit plan posted, you should come up with your own exit strategy for each part of your home. Discuss it with other occupants of the home so that everyone knows what to do in case of a fire. Try your best to keep these routes clear.
General Hazards Tip #18: Install a Home Security System
This might not be in everyone’s home budget, however, it is a good step to consider in order to keep family and belongings safe. It is especially a good idea if you live in a dangerous area or an area with a history of break-ins. There are many different options out there, some of which don’t have to break your bank.
General Hazards Tip #19: Keep It Clean
Mentioned in the tip about a fire plan, many accidental injuries can be avoided if a home is kept clean and organized. Many times, it can help to keep furniture more minimalistic. Keep in mind the space that is available in your home. Keep couches, chairs and tables out of doorways and hallways, making sure there is no overlap to catch on and cause injury. Keeping walkways clean is important. Also, be aware of anything that may easily fall into walkways with a small nudge. This is important not only within the house, but in outdoor areas such as sheds, greenhouses, and garages. Things that fall into a walkway that is normally unobstructed will have a higher chance of surprising someone and being the cause of an injury.