We’re fortunate to live in a time of unmatched safety and comfort. However, it’s easy to overlook the more mundane dangers that still exist in our homes. Though they rarely grab headlines, threats such as fires, carbon monoxide and falls leave thousands injured or worse every year. Thankfully, many of these dangers can be significantly reduced with some simple precautions, habits or products. Here are four such ways to make your home safer.
Though sometimes taken for granted in modern homes, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms play a crucial safety role. Fire can spread shockingly fast, and poisonous carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, meaning alarms are an indispensable line of defense.
Functioning smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, in every bedroom and outside every sleeping area. Smoke alarms should be tested every month and replaced every 10 years from the date of manufacture. Carbon monoxide alarms should also be installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Consider interconnected alarms so that all alarms will sound if one detects danger.
Fix fall hazards
Every year, some 10,000 people die as a result of falls at home, with many more being injured.
To reduce the chance of these kinds of accidents, arrange furniture out of the way of your typical routes around the home. For example, no obstructions should be between your bed and the bedroom door. Place electrical cords, pet bowls and other smaller hazards against walls rather than in walkways. Consider doing away with throw rugs, which can slide or bunch up, or immobilize them with carpet tacks or two-sided carpet tape. If necessary, put a rubber mat or nonslip strips in your bathtub and install grab bars. Keeping your home clean and decluttered is also important.
If mobility is or is becoming an issue for someone in your home, it may be wise to consider a single-level home with few or no steps.
Keeping an eye on your home is easier than ever before. Consumer-installable home monitoring systems have become simple and affordable thanks to digital technology and the internet. With one or more internet-connected cameras installed in your home, you can monitor your place from your smartphone or computer, checking in on pets, weather effects or other home welfare concerns. Other smart home elements can let you control your thermostat, lights or other appliances from afar for even more security.
However, internet-connected devices introduce their own risks. Make sure you only purchase products and services from reputable brands, and use unique, secure passwords on all of your accounts and systems.
Hundreds of thousands of people are treated for burn injuries in the U.S. every year, and many of them are children.
To reduce the risk of scalds from hot water faucets, consider turning down the maximum temperature of your water heater to the minimum level recommended by your heater’s manual (but don’t go any lower, or you may risk bacteria growth). Keep an eye on children when cooking, and consider installing safety covers for appliance knobs to prevent young ones from turning on hot surfaces.
Practice good fire safety, including educating all members of the household on how to prevent, recognize and escape fires – especially important for young children.
By following these steps, you can be satisfied knowing you’ve made your home a safer place.