According to the Home Safety Council, a non-profit safety education and resource organization, accidents that occur in homes across the U.S.A. result in over 20,000 deaths and 21 million injuries every year. Home owners and their families can avoid accidents by being proactive in identifying areas around their homes that pose safety risks and taking corrective measures to remove potential dangers. This process needs to be ongoing. A homeowner should inspect her/his property looking for safety hazards on a monthly basis. Using the whole-house safety approach, we recommend the following:
1. If children are in the home, childproof furniture, cover hard corners, and install locks on cabinets containing poisons or prescription medicines. Be sure to inspect your garage for poisonous products, such as pesticides, paints and automotive fluids.
2. Gate off stairs and other unsafe areas, cover electrical sockets if there are small children at home.
3. Remove boxes, electrical cords or items that could be a tripping hazard.
4. Make certain that heavy appliances or furniture cannot fall over by anchoring them to a wall with braces, brackets. Secure flat screen TVs to the wall. In your garage, make sure shelving is not overloaded and is anchored to the wall.
5. Stairways should be well-lighted. Install handrails on both sides of the stairs to prevent falls.
6. Clean up spills as quickly as possible to avoid slipping and falling. Make people in the house aware of a damp or wet floor, especially after cleaning.
7. Regarding your fireplace, be certain that the flue is operating properly and the chimney is not clogged with chemicals or other material. Hire a professional chimney sweep.
8. Never stand a chair to reach for high items. Use a ladder or step stool.
9. Have a fire extinguisher available in your kitchen in case of cooking fires.
10. To prevent accidents involving hot pots and pots on the stove, use the back burners and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Never wear long, flowing sleeves while you cook!
11. Adjust the water temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or just below the medium setting. When running bath water for a child, start with cold water, and run your hand back and forth in the water to check temperature before placing a child in the tub.
12. Unplug all electrical appliances in the bathroom, i.e. hair dryers and shavers, when not in use.
13. Install smoke detectors in each bedroom and hallway. Check detectors twice a year and change batteries yearly.
14. Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home.
15. Never leave a car running inside a garage, as carbon monoxide can seep into your home.
16. Test your garage door reversing sensor by placing a roll of paper towel in the door’s path. Have the door repaired if it does not immediately reverse.
17. If you have a pool or spa, install a fence at least five feet high with an automatic locking gate.
18. When using an outdoor grill, position it three feet or more away from your home, trees and shrubs or a wooden fence. Use long-handled cooking implements and gloves to prevent burns.
19. Areas under play equipment should be covered with 9 to 12 inches of soft material such as sand or mulch. The soft materials should extend 6 feet on all sides of the play area.
20. Don’t wear sandals or gym shoes to mow the lawn! Wear protective clothing, leather shoes and safety glasses to prevent accidents.
21. Outdoor lighting is important to safety and security. Make sure that walkways and stairs leading to your home are well-lighted to prevent injuries to family members and visitors .