We all want to keep our homes safe, and for the most part we believe that we do. We lock our doors at night, install smoke detectors, and those with small children put outlet covers on their outlets and keep detergents in cupboards where the kids can’t reach. But there are steps we can take to protect our homes and families that not everyone considers. Accidents that occur in and around the home represent 45% of unintentional injury deaths. The most common of these tragedies include drowning, choking, electrocution, poisoning, falls, and burns. By learning to be more thorough in the protection of your own home, you can reduce the personal risk to you and your family.
Managing Electrical Cords
In an effort to be efficient, many people don’t always manage electrical cords the way they should, and sometimes failing to take important safety measures can result in injury. The first common error is overusing power strips and extension cords. Standard outlets normally have two places to plug things in, but in cases where there are computers, entertainment systems, televisions, gaming systems, stereos, lights, printers, not to mention general charging station for various gadgets things can get pretty tangled and crowded rather quickly. Too many electronics plugged into one area can easily cause a fuse to blow out, or may cause overheating and or fire if the area gets too hot from all that energy usage. This can be a danger in any home, but in homes where there are small children or pets who may get curious about everything going on down there, this is especially dangerous. When possible, cords should be arranged so that they are mostly hidden by rugs or heavy furniture which will make it less likely that they would be tripped on.
Another thing not everyone thinks about is unplugging appliances when they are not in use. Leaving appliances plugged in, but dormant makes it more likely that electric shocks will occur. It also uses unnecessary energy. Small kitchen appliances, such as toasters, blenders, and mixers may be the easiest to remember to unplug, but TVs and stereos can also spend time disconnected. By establishing times that adults in the household unplug electronics you can also help manage the time family members spend using certain devices.
Another hazard in the home can come with the furniture. Bookcases especially can become off balance and pose a tipping risk. Whether kids are in the house or not a toppling book case is not something anyone wants to deal with. In order to combat this the bookcase can be attached to the wall with wall brackets.
Those who have children, or have children visiting their home may also want to consider latches for drawers and cupboards in order to prevent injuries caused by collisions with corners, furniture being used as ladders, or kids accessing things inside the drawers and cupboards that may not be safe. It’s also good to choose tables with rounded corners or install corner guards for protection.
Set Water Temperature
Burns are among the most common household injuries, and while some may come from a hot stove or onion, many are caused by water that gets too hot, either in the bath or shower or in the kitchen sink. Water can often seem like it is a good temperature, and then suddenly get much hotter with little or no warning. By setting the water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll prevent water from becoming too hot to handle.
While the best way to protect yourself and your family from home accidents is by preventing them, even the most careful won’t always be able to dodge every emergency. Because of this, it’s important to be as prepared as possible to react to emergency situations in the event that they do happen. Taking the time to learn first aid and CPR is well worth the investment of time. Even if you never need it, it will likely give you peace of mind to know you are ready to perform the Heimlich maneuver, stop severe bleeding, or help a loved one start breathing again if they stop. While children cannot be certified in these skills, assuring that they have basic knowledge, such as knowing to apply pressure to bleeding and raise a cut above the heart can help them take care of themselves in an emergency. It is also good to practice escape routes and to teach kids when a 911 call might be appropriate. Even when a child can’t articulate what is happening, dispatchers may be able to track your location and send the help you need.
Matt Scyoc writes and consults on a variety of home-related subjects for Next Day Carpet.