Part of protecting your family involves keeping your home as safe as possible. If your home were a business, you would perform a risk assessment for health and safety. You should try to do the same to help keep your family safe. There are so many potential hazards in your home, but you can control them. As an adult, you can navigate most of these issues on your own. But your children, as well as your pets, need a little help keeping themselves safe. Luckily, lots of the ways you can make your home safer are easy to implement. And you can keep yourself safe too. Protecting the property from burglary and other disasters is also important.
When your baby starts to move about, baby gates are probably one of the first things you install in your home. You might also use them for your pets, since they’re useful for keeping the dog out of a room. If you’re not sure where to put baby gates, start with the top and bottom of the stairs. It’s best to have a gate at both ends, so there’s no chance of any little feet slipping on their way up or down. They might not look brilliant, but they will make your home a lot safer. You should use them until your child can safely go up and down the stairs on their own.
There are all kinds of things in the house that shouldn’t be ingested, or at least not by children. Neither kids or pets have the ability to tell what is and isn’t food, so you have to help them out. The best thing to do is lock away anything that your child or pet could put in their mouth or get on their hands. That means cleaning fluids, laundry detergent, medicines, and other hazardous items. Be particularly careful with anything resembling sweets, like pills or laundry detergent capsules. You can get cabinet locks to keep all your cupboards closed.
Keep Little Fingers from Getting Trapped
Sometimes there are small issues that we forget to think about. If your interior doors swing closed easily, it could lead to trapped fingers or toes. You don’t want any doors slamming or even falling gently shut onto anyone when they’re going into or out of a room. If you would prefer to keep the doors open all the time, getting a pack of door stops is a good idea. You can put them around the house to prop open any doors you don’t want to close. They can also be a reminder of rooms that you want to be left open all the time, such as your children’s bedrooms.
The bathroom can be full of hazards, from medicines to water. It’s very easy for small children to drown in only a couple of inches of water. This is an essential fact to keep in mind when you’re making your bathroom safer. Some parents choose to put a latch on their toilet seat so toddlers can’t lift it up. You should also be careful not to leave water in the bath. Speaking of baths, a non-slip mat on the bottom (or in the shower) will come in handy. A bathmat on the floor will also help to prevent wet and slippery floors. Don’t forget to keep anything potentially dangerous out of reach in the medicine cabinet. Lock it if it’s accessible by the little people in your home.
There are hazards to contend with in the kitchen too, from bacteria to hot pans. If you want to manage some of them in the easiest way possible, making one simple rule is how to do it. Don’t let any kids or pets in the kitchen, and put a baby gate in the doorway to keep them out. But if you need to use the kitchen to eat, keeping the kids out isn’t very practical. Latches on your kitchen cupboards will keep out any nosey children or animals. Controlling bacteria requires regular cleaning, but also food safety knowledge. For example, cutting meat on a different chopping board to vegetables is good practice. Keeping pan handles turned in on the hob will prevent any dangerous spills.
Plugs and Electricals
Tiny fingers in plug sockets aren’t something you want to risk. And trailing cables can present several hazards. It’s simple to make your electrical outlets safer by using covers. They’re inexpensive and will stop fingers or other objects getting poked into the sockets. They also prevent older children from plugging in things that they shouldn’t. Cables can be dangerous for both people and animals. Messy cables are easily tripped over, and both cats and dogs will happily nibble on them. And don’t rule out an exploring baby having a chew too! You can tidy them away using a cable tidy box or tube.
Choking, Suffocation and Strangling Hazards
Choking, strangulation and suffocation are big worries for a lot of parents. There are some hazards you might not even realise could be dangerous. For example, it’s important to tie up the cords from blinds, which toddlers can get tangled in. You should be careful with anything that your baby can get wrapped up in accidentally. Anything small can present a choking hazard to children and pets. Keeping your home clean is crucial to eliminating anything that could be an issue. It’s important to be careful with certain foods too, such as grapes, which you should cut into quarters. A safe sleeping space will help to prevent suffocation, and so will keeping your cat away from the baby while they’re sleeping.
Making your home safe isn’t all about the children and pets. Keeping your whole family safe is important too, and that includes you. You need to make your home secure to protect it from burglars and other issues. A house alarm is a good idea to let you know if there’s any suspicious activity. You might also use a camera, perhaps with a motion sensor, so it only picks up movement outside your house. It’s also important to take further responsibility for the security of your home. Remembering to lock doors and windows is essential if you want to keep out intruders. It’s also necessary if you want to make sure you claim any theft or damage on your insurance.
Windows and Patio Doors
Open windows can present dangers other than opportunities for burglars. It’s easier than you might think for a toddler to fall out of an open window, even if you think it’s only open a bit. It’s important to be careful with windows, either keeping them closed or providing supervision. You can also use stoppers to prevent windows being opened past a certain point. Remember to open sash windows from the top and lock them at the bottom so little fingers can’t open them. It’s also best to keep furniture and other things your child could climb away from windows. Windows and glass doors can also present another danger – running into them! If your child forgets about them, try placing stickers on the glass.
The outdoors can be dangerous too if you don’t take the correct precautions. It’s always best to supervise your children when they’re in the garden, although older kids can take care of themselves. If you have a trampoline, a robust cover on the springs and a net will help to prevent any falls or other injuries. Ponds are another hazard to watch out for, and you should make sure yours if covered if you have one. Make sure to put away gardening tools and to keep everything tidy. To keep your pets safe, make sure there aren’t any plants that could poison them if they eat them.
Fire is a risk for any home, so it’s essential to protect yours. Fire alarms are the minimum you should have in your home. It’s important to test them regularly so you can be sure they’re working. You can also have a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket in the house too. Following all the usual fire safety rules is necessary too. Make sure any flames, including fires, candles and cigarettes, are extinguished completely. Prevent electrical fires by keeping plugs, wires and appliances maintained. Make sure you keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children. You also need to have a fire guard if you have a fireplace.
Carbon Monoxide Detection
Carbon monoxide is both odorless and colourless, and it can be deadly. Low levels can make you ill, but higher levels can kill. A carbon monoxide detector will make sure that any leaking gas is picked up quickly. Apart from having a detector, you need to make sure all your fuel-burning appliances work correctly. Keeping them well maintained will ensure they burn their fuel properly. These include your heating system, lawn mower, portable generators and other fuel-burning products.
There’s a lot you need to do to make your home safer for your family. Try keeping a calendar of tasks to complete so you don’t forget.