Home Safety and Accident Prevention: Exploring your Property

home safety

Staying safe in your house is not just about home security — it’s about safety with the foods you eat, the insurance you purchase, the appliances you use, the furniture you buy, and the re-modelling you do. You might not have even realized that your house was a potential danger zone. And it’s not dangerous just for babies, young children or the elderly either. There are all kinds of different dangers you might have your house and not even realize it. From your kitchen to your bathroom, there are potential problems that you must monitor.

General

When we talk about health and safety many may consider slips and trips but you should regularly check your home for other possible safety issues too. Just because it was safe when you moved in or last summer it doesn’t always mean that it remains safe and regular checks are always advised especially considering wear and tear.

If you have young children or pets regularly check all doors and windows are secure. Most windows these days have safety locks which can prevent windows being fully opened while still allowing them to be opened enough for ventilation. However older windows may not have safety features and in this case you could possibly consider window guards. In recent years blinds have become popular for many rather than more traditional curtains but whether these are built in or added at a later date you should examine these careful to ensure that any cables are secure and safe or consider a basic safety clip on the cord to prevent accidents especially with small children.

Your home should always be fitted with an up to date and tested smoke alarm and CO2 alarm. These are proven to save lives in the event of a house fire or gas leak. Remember to regularly test the batteries and if necessary, replace faulty units promptly. You may even find that they are a requirement of your household and content insurance so put a reminder in your calendar to regular check they are still working.

Reception Rooms

Your lounge may not be a location you immediately associate with safety concerns however you should consider your use of electrical points, extensions and other cables in the first place. Some reception rooms may have open fireplaces or log burners, and many people love to use scented candles however these are all common source of house fires so care should be taken when at all times to avoid sparks, naked flames or accidental knocks.

Another potentially hidden safety risk these days can be the large flat screen mounted TVs which have become popular or bookcases against walls. These should always be anchored and secured to a wall to prevent potential accidents. It is possible to obtain anchor kits and if in doubt it is worth engaging a professional to assist you.

You may be in a hurry to fit your furniture in and think you will secure your furniture at a later date but these quick measures can provide peace of mind especially if you have small children.

Kitchen

A busy family kitchen is full of hazards but with some careful planning and organisation you can minimise those for a risks. Depending upon the age of your family there may be different things to consider. If you family are young you could already be familiar with cupboard and fridge locks however hot surfaces and hot liquids should be a concern for everyone.

Keep hot pots and pans away from the edge of you cooker, move handles out of reach and ensure your kettle is pushed back from the edge of your worksurface.

Your home will also be full of range of cleaning products for all purposes in your kitchen and bathroom. Newer homes these days sometimes struggle for storage with smaller rooms and less cupboard space. Having designated space in a secure cupboard will provide good access while still keeping potentially dangerous chemicals out of the way for all ages.

Bathroom

We have already discussed cleaning products in the kitchen area but extra items like toilet bleach and also medication are often kept in your bathroom or cloakroom.  If you have a newer style bathroom you may be have both a bath and a separate shower or even a spa bath but whatever you have you should consider a number of safety challenges:

  • Slips on wet floors are common for all ages
  • Consider slip proof mats on floors and in showers or baths
  • Water temperature: checking the temperature isn’t too hot and could burn or too cold is especially important with young children
  • Electricity and water do not fix. Although some bathrooms may have a shaver plug you should avoid the use of electrical items in your bathroom
  • Consider the installation of a grab bar near showers, baths or toilets.

Gardens and Outside Areas

The safety of your home doesn’t end when you walk out the door. The outdoors bring with them a whole plethora of other potential problems. For example, if you have a pool, you need to ensure that the chemicals are stored safely. Ensuring that pools and ponds are covered when not in use and ideally secure with possible fencing around them is essential.

As the lighter evenings approach some of us may enjoy an evening BBQ or sitting out with a fire pit. You should look to have sand or water at the ready to put these out and always avoid the use of accelerants to get a fire started. In recent years patio heaters have become popular and many of use make use of gas bottles. When not in use ensuring these are safely stored and switched off can prevent potential accidents.

Most gardens have an outbuilding or small shed where tools and other garden items including possibly chemicals are stored. These should be secure to not only prevent thefts but also prevent accidently access by young children or animals. Investing in good outside security can in some circumstances help with insurance quotes and also offer peace of mind.

Finally, do you have outside lighting in your garden? Maybe a security light or solar lights. Either way ensuring your garden is well lite can assist with security as well as personal family safety. Outside lights can be on timers, movement sensers or simple on/off switches however depending upon whether they are solar or mains powered it is always advisable to engage the use of a qualified and experience electrician to set them up for you.

Driveways

Many tragedies happen in driveways or parking lots when drivers are unaware that children are near vehicles Tragically, these drivers are often family members or friends of the injured child. But these situations are easily prevented by following a few simple tips.

  • We know you’re often in a hurry, but before you get in the car, take a few seconds to walk all the way around your parked car to check for children or animals.
  • Designate a safe spot for children to wait when nearby vehicles are about to move and make sure the drivers can see them.
  • Accompany small children when they get in and out of a vehicle. Hold their hand while walking near moving vehicle or in driveways.
  • Consider passing traffic: this may be something you looked at when you viewed a new home or it may have increased since you moved in. Safety gates on floor doors or side gates can easily help to prevent escaping pets and children.

DIY & Home Improvements

Home improvements or starting a new DIY project can be quite exciting especially in a new home as you start to make it your own however each year there are a large number of visits to A&E departments across the country after accidents while doing DIY.

Before you start a new project firstly consider whether you have the tools, experience and time to do it justice. It can sometimes be a false economy to try and do things yourselves and can also be much safer to engage an experienced builder, electrician, plumber or gas engineer depending upon the project itself.

Always wear the correct safety equipment, make sur ethe area is well ventilated and keep your work area clean, tidy and organised. Make sure you’re familiar with the tools for the job, especially if they’re electrical. Drills in particular should be switched off and unplugged before fitting parts, and the chuck key removed before it’s turned on.

Conclusion

Everyone wants to enjoy their home, make the most of it and have place to relax and recover from the rest of life’s challenges. We each take pride in our homes in different ways but it is sometimes easy to over look simple changes that can make a big difference to your home and the safety of your family.

Whether you have just moved into a new home or are making some basic improvements prior to selling your property it is vital that you consider your safety at all times and not just during Family Safety Week each year.

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