A Guide to Home Safety

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Your home should be your comfort zone, the place you want to be, and the place where you feel safe. However, most accidents happen at home, often due to taking your routine and familiarity for granted.

There are a wide variety of common dangers in the home, so it’s worth spending time and putting the basics in place, creating a safe space for you and your family.

Poisoning



Your bathroom, kitchen cabinets and garage hold many highly toxic chemicals that could cause health problems and even accidental poisoning. Lock away toxic drugs, multivitamins, nail polish, dyes, varnish, and chemicals so that children have no ability to access to them.

Some houses have been built with problematic materials such as lead or asbestos which are highly toxic. These can cause respiratory disease and cancer, so if you know you have them present, it’s good to get them professionally removed. Contact companies that specialise in removing these, as it is a job that requires knowledge and understanding.

Formaldehyde is found everywhere, including insulation, fibreboard, panelling, carpeting, and fabric. While the chemical is found naturally in many ways (like pears), It causes many uncomfortable symptoms if fumes are inhaled. Be aware, especially if you’re renovating.

Mould is another common problem in homes. The spores can be in the air even if you can’t see the mould itself. Air your home thoroughly, even in winter, and use white vinegar to kill mould spores (bleach does not kill the roots of the plant, so is an ineffective mould remedy). If the problem keeps reoccurring, there may be a leak in the walls or ceiling, so may be worth a building inspection to find the cause of the problem.

Electric shocks

Electricity can cause burns or even death, so it’s incredibly important to manage. Prevention is easy though:


  • Avoid contact of electrical appliances with water

  • Turning off circuit breakers before attempting electrical work

  • Don’t overload power boxes/ extension cords

  • Get electrical appliances checked for safety (particularly electric blankets)


Slips and trips

Slippery floor surfaces, loose carpet or mats and loose hardware such as nails or floorboards can cause slips and falls. Also, unexpected objects (such as toys) left lying around can be a trip hazard. Make sure that the house is obstacle free so that you can avoid accidents.

Accidental falls, especially by senior citizens, account for more than 40% of all non-fatal home injuries. By making simple changes, you can lower the chances of you or another household member falling and being injured in your home. You can prevent a lot of falls by installing lights in the hallways and always making sure that there is access to a torchlight in the event of a power cut.

Tape mats down so they don’t slide around, or the corners don’t curl up. Perform some basic home maintenance and repair timber or carpet flooring so there are no uneven surfaces.

Declutter and don’t store objects on the floor. Make sure that loose extension cords aren’t lying around. Encourage children to put toys away after use.

Drowning

There have been many cases of people drowning in their own pools or even in their own bathrooms. Bathtub deaths have risen by a staggering 70% in the past ten years. Kids, in particular, can drown in even one inch of water. Drowning is the seventh leading cause of accidental death and even swimmers can get into very serious trouble when they encounter unexpected problems such as cramps.

To prevent drowning, install a fence around the pool and make sure that a child is always supervised. Invest in a pool cover and pool alarm system. Always keep an eye on your child.

Fire



This is a common cause of death, with four out of five fire-related deaths being caused at home. Because fire is silent, it’s especially dangerous when the family is asleep. Installing a smoke detector will saves lives. Be careful around matches, fires and heaters and make sure that children do not have access to any potential fire-creating object such as matches or lighters. Don’t hang towels or curtains over the stove.

A fire drill at home is a good way to educate everyone. Walk through the house with the family, showing everyone that there are two exits to each room, and how to leave is one route is blocked. Also show how to douse yourself if your clothes catch fire, dropping to the ground and rolling over to put out the flames.

This is also a great time to review your home and contents insurance. While it doesn’t prevent problems, it can save you a lot of heartache after the fact if you make sure you are covered.

Making a few simple changes can save lives and prevent harm

Accidents can be prevented if you are mindful and aware. Don’t think that home is always a safe place- there is so much that can go wrong. Take a few simple precautions and put in the time now to prevent accidents later.