Make Your Home Safe and Sound in 7 Days
Making your home a safe haven for your family — no matter how big or small, young or old — should be a top priority. But according to the Home Safety Council, less than one-third of homeowners make any safety improvements. Why? Forty-two percent of homeowners say they’re unsure of what actions to take, while 19 percent cite they don’t have enough time.
Luckily, updating your home safety doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Instead of viewing it as one big project, break it up into several smaller projects. Within seven days your home will be safe, sound and secure.
Day 1: Bathrooms
Despite the small size, there are many opportunities for safety updates. To start, locate medicines and dangerous chemicals, like nail polish remover or mouthwash, and place them together in a locked cabinet. Next, set your hot water heater below 120 degrees. More than 3,800 scalding injuries happen every year, and the simple task of setting your hot water heater at a lower temperature will help eliminate possible harm. Finally, install grab bars to help prevent falls. Don’t worry — today’s grab bars won’t make your bath look institutional. “Disguised” safety devices include a grab bar with a paper holder (to assist getting on and off the toilet), a towel bar (to hold towels while assisting getting into and out of the shower or tub) and a shelf (to keep shower items handy and keep a firm grip in the shower).
Day 2: Kitchen
With the sharp objects and potentially hot and wet surfaces, there are many danger zones in the kitchen. Start your safety update by ensuring hazardous items are out of reach. This includes knives, scissors, cleaning supplies, plastic bags and any cords from small appliances. Next, if you have young children, install child-proof latches on all cupboards, oven doors and stove handles. Finally, keep a fire extinguisher within arm’s reach of your oven for any unfortunate cooking incidents.
Day 3: Hallways/Stairs
The stairway/hallway ranks third as the most hazardous area of the home, according to a Home Safety Council study. To prevent against falls, ensure there is bright lighting near stairs and remove or secure any tripping hazards, such as throw rugs, from the area. Next, be sure working smoke detectors are in the hallways on each floor — and change their batteries at least every six months. Finally, provide secure railings on both sides of the stairs — that includes stairs leading to the second level, basement and for garage and entry doors.
Day 4: Electrical/Heating
With fires and burns making up 37 percent of home injuries, it’s important to pay attention to your electrical and heating systems. To start, place safety plugs in all electrical outlets. Next, create barriers around any hot surfaces, such as baseboards, radiators and fireplaces, to keep children’s hands from being burned — while also ensuring that there is a clear distance from other objects (curtains, furniture) that could catch fire. Finally, be sure that all electrical outlets near water sources feature ground fault circuits to help prevent electrocution.
Day 5: Bedrooms
The soft bed, blankets and pillows make the bedroom seem safe, but there’s still room for improvement. If you’re in an older home, be sure that the walls have a safe, non-lead paint. Next, look for any dangling cords from blinds and pin them up to remove strangulation hazards. Finally, window guards are also available to prevent accidental falls from open windows.
Day 6: Family Room
To fully enjoy the many electronics in your family room, make sure they’re safe. Place all large equipment on a wall and make the wires and cords inaccessible. Next, secure any shelves or bookcases (that may look like ladders to kids) to the wall to avoid tipping hazards. Finally, if you have toddlers, be sure to add corner pads to any furniture with sharp corners.
Day 7: Rest and Enjoy
Now you can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that your home is safe and sound for your family.