When it comes to preventing accidents at home, there are steps we can all take to make each room a safer place to be. While the majority of personal injury accidents occur in automobiles or outside the home, there are still a number of things that could wrong inside our own four walls. Injury claims are often made based on property quality, defective products, and careless behavior. While these situations cannot always be foreseen or prevented, taking the proper precautions can help reduce your chances of being injured should an accident occur.
Below are suggestions on how to accident-proof different areas of your home:
- Make sure all cords are taped to walls or draped behind furniture. Do not leave lamp cords, extension cords, or phone cords where people could trip or become entangled.
- Keep rugs and runners as flat on the ground as possible. Place furniture on top of these objects to help them stay in place and to reduce the chance of people tripping over them. Do not position rugs or unstable pieces of carpet at the top of stairways or in high-traffic areas where people are more prone to slip and fall.
- Do not place curtains or furniture near baseboard heaters. Keep all household items at least 12 inches from vents to prevent them from becoming overheated and catching fire.
- Always cover your fireplace with a screen so it can catch sparks and help keep flames away from people and furniture.
- Inspect your chimney and furnace regularly and keep them clean.
- Check appliances like televisions to make sure they are not overheating or sparking. If you have computers in communal areas, turn them off at night.
- Turn off all appliances as soon as you have finished using them. Never leave the oven on if no one will be home to monitor it, and turn the heat off as soon as you have finished cooking.
- Keep flammable items away from the stove burners and oven. Do not store your paper towels, towels, napkins, or plastic dishes above or near extreme heat or where they could catch fire.
- Consistently wipe up grease or food spills from counters, the stove top, and the oven.
- Turn pot handles inward so they are less likely to be bumped.
- Keep your knife blades sharp, and always store them upside down and away from your regular silverware.
- Always keep the dishwasher closed when you are not loading it—anyone could fall and land on the sharp objects found inside.
- Do not place food or pans on an open oven door. It may be tempting to set things down when your hands are full, but the weight of the items could cause your stove to tip and dump grease, food, and boiling hot water all over you.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in each of your home’s bedrooms. Test them regularly and make sure all batteries are working.
- Make sure your room is well-lit so that you can turn on a light quickly in the case of an emergency. Keep a lamp, flashlight, or light switch close to your bed.
- Keep all furniture out of the middle of your room. Provide a clear walkway, and memorize where you can “safely” walk.
- Never store loaded guns or other weapons in plain sight in your bedroom. Keep dangerous items in a safe or gun cabinet, and always keep firearms unloaded when not in use.
- Do not leave candles unattended, and never let them burn down to the holder.
- Unplug electronics like computers and chargers when not in use.
- Keep a bathmat or non-slip surface at the bottom of your bathtub or shower. Consider installing a bar or steady rod to use in case of falls.
- Do not use water that is overly-hot. Keep bath, shower, and sink water temperatures below 120 degrees.
- Wipe up excess water or products that have spilled on the floor. Clear, unnoticeable water can lead to dangerous, painful injuries.
- Unplug electrical appliances when not in use, and never hold items like hairdryers and curling irons in or near water.
- Be aware of buildup and residue left behind by products. Drops of conditioner, lotion, shaving cream, toothpaste, and face wash can land on the floor and lead to a slippery surface.
- Keep medicines, household cleaners, and dangerous chemicals out of the reach of children. Store these containers in a cool, dry place.
- Post emergency phone numbers by your fridge or in a place where every family member knows to look for them.
- Don’t let your stairs become a secondary storage closet. Instead of setting items down and moving them “later,” put the items away as soon as you find them. A few extra trips up and down your stairs will be the key to preventing tripping up and down the stairs.
- Make sure all the entrances to your home are well-lit and locked at night.
- Keep several fire extinguishers in different parts of your home. In addition to installing smoke detectors in your bedrooms, install them in your kitchen, hallways, and living room areas. Have a fire escape plan, and make sure everyone knows how to exit your home in case of an emergency.
- Choose large, reflective numbers for the outside of your home. Make sure your house can be easily identified in the dark and by people unfamiliar with your neighborhood. In case of an emergency situation, make yourself very easy to find from the street or air.
- Be aware of hazardous items in your yard or outside of your house. Put away ladders, paint buckets, and power tools. Be on the lookout for wasp nests, spiderwebs, and ant hills as well.
- If you keep your grill outside on a wooden deck, be especially aware of fire danger. Keep your grill cool, covered, and upright. If your backyard has a fire put, make sure to completely put out all fires before heading inside for the night.
- Frequently clean out the lint trap in your dryer to avoid starting a fire while doing your laundry.
Sources: How Stuff Works, Women’s Health Magazine, and Self Magazine.