Want a New Year’s resolution that’s easy to keep, costs next to nothing, yet could save lives? Simple: Do a safety makeover throughout your home. All it takes is a little time and a lot of common sense. Here are a dozen key ingredients:
- Do a walk-around survey to identify and resolve risks – things like loose window catches and other fittings, slippery floors and rugs, unsecured cabling, floor obstacles, and sharp edges.
- Do the same thing around the yard, checking for fall hazards, security of equipment and proper safeguarding around swimming pools and ornamental pools.
- Check (and replace if necessary) smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you don’t have alarms, install at least one on each story of your home.
- Ensure all gas appliance, fires and clothes drier venting is clear.
- Check, restock or buy a good first aid kit. Better yet, have two. For what to include, see this Red Cross list: http://tinyurl.com/RC-fakit
- Make sure all dangerous tools, from kitchen knives to garage equipment, are securely out of the reach of youngsters.
- Have a fire escape plan and share it with everyone in the house. Need more info? See: http://tinyurl.com/esc-plan
- Check electrical outlets and appliance cabling for wear and damage. See this guide from the Home Safety Council: http://tinyurl.com/HSC-elec. Install covers over unused outlets.
- Clear out and clean your fridge, replace kitchen cutting boards and cracked pots – all potential sources of food-borne infection.
- Dispose of expired and unused medications and make sure that those you use are properly labeled and safely stored – that’s at the right temperature and out of reach of little hands.
- Make sure ladders are properly secured before using, and follow the rule of always having three limbs in contact with the ladder.
- And don’t forget, home safety these days also encompasses use of your personal computer. Install internet security software and keep it up to date. Plus, if you have kids, take steps to monitor their usage.
Every year, home-related accidents result in 20,000 deaths and more than 20 million medical visits. Resolve that, in 2012, you and your family won’t be among them. Take the time to discuss safety with them, especially children.
Take Steps Now To Avoid Tipover Tragedies
More than 2,000 children die in home accidents every year. Sadly, 2011 become a notorious period for what are known as tipover tragedies – deaths caused by falling furniture and equipment. With more equipment being wall-mounted these days – big, flatscreen TVs are a prime example – the risk of an accident is growing. These accidents happen either because the items are not properly secured or because they are too easily reached by children. If you’re installing wall-mounted equipment, always follow the manufacturers’ instructions, particularly noting the need for special mounting fixtures and anchoring correctly to wall studs. Also ensure that furniture that could be tipped over is out of reach or bolted to the floor or walls. Check all at-risk furnishings and equipment regularly. See also this useful guide from Consumer Reports: http://tinyurl.com/tipovers