By Lori Melton
Numerous safety hazards can exist in any room of your house. Becoming aware of potential dangers and making necessary adjustments can help make your home a much safer environment for family and friends of all ages.
Check out these suggestions for 10 things you should remove from or add to your house right now to minimize safety hazards and help make your home a safer place.
Remove Debris From Exterior Walkways and Porches
Falls are one of the most common household injuries and falling leaves, ice and snow on the sidewalk can make things dangerous. Steps and porch entrance in front of your home can increase fall risk. Make sure you keep these areas clear of debris by raking, shoveling, and salting as needed.
Keep Cords Out of Reach
Improperly stored cords present two types of safety hazards: Trip and fall risk and strangulation. For the latter, make sure to keep window treatment cords wound up or wrapped up and out of reach of children; remove them altogether or choose cord-free designs. Keep electrical cords and cables out of traffic areas (stairs, hallways, the middle of rooms). You can purchase plastic cord bundle tubing to hide cable multiple electronics cables and you can also lay lamp cords and other cables close to baseboards and behind furniture to keep them stowed out of the way.
Remove Slippery Throw Rugs
Get rid of rugs that aren’t tacked down as they easily slide and curl up and present a great opportunity for an unwanted slip and fall injury. Use rubber-backed slip-free rugs instead or use double-sided sticky table or sticky mesh liners designed to hold rugs in place.
Lock Medicine Away
Never leave any type of medicine, whether it’s prescription or over-the-counter, out on the table, counter or in any easily accessible place. Instead, consider installing a lockable medicine cabinet in a high location (like on the wall over the sink) to store all of these poisonous, potentially deadly items. Keep the key in a safe place where responsible adults only can access it to unlock the cabinet as medicine is needed.
Install Drawer and Cabinet Locks for Household Cleaners and Hygiene Items
Household cleaners and common personal hygiene products like hair spray, makeup, acetone and more are all potentially poisonous items that can harm children and pets. Keep these items stored in high, inaccessible cupboards or, better yet, install safety latches on cupboard doors and drawers to keep them locked up.
Install Smoke Detectors
Per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were over 365,000 home fires in 2015 that resulted in 2,650 civilian deaths and 11,075 civilian injuries. Help protect your home and loved ones from a potentially disastrous fire by installing smoke detectors on all levels of your home (Nest Protect is a smart smoke detector that uses Wi-Fi to enable remote monitoring on your smartphone). Make sure to check the batteries on each detector at least once a year.
Add a Fire Extinguisher
You should keep at least one fire extinguisher that is rated for multi-purpose household use nearby in rooms where a fire could ignite like near a fireplace or in the kitchen. Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes carry several models that will meet your needs.
Add a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can cause severe illness and death. You should have your furnace, fireplace and any other appliances that use gas, coal and oil checked regularly by a service professional to look for and fix any leaks. You can also install a carbon monoxide detector that plugs into a wall outlet that will sound a loud alarm if carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels in your home. Fnd these at local hardware, home improvement and department stores like Walmart or online at Amazon.com.
Store Sharp Objects in Secure or Locked Areas
Help prevent cuts and other injuries caused by sharp household objects by keeping them out of reach from children, pets and accidental exposure. Remove things like scissors, a case or butcher block of knives and other cutlery from the countertop and lock them up in secured drawers and cupboards. Likewise, properly stow potentially hazardous lawn equipment like garden shears, hedge trimmers, mowers, rakes and weed wackers in a locked shed until ready for use by a responsible adult.
Install a Security Alarm
Protect your loved ones and valuables from unwanted intruders by installing a home security system. There are many styles and designs to fit a wide range of household budgets from alarms and motion sensors to in-home security cameras and automated “smart home” systems like Guardian Edge that work with your smartphone, tablet, or PC to monitor your home from any location.