As you start this new year, you may be taking inventory at home of projects that need to be accomplished. As you’re considering what needs to be done, you may want to think about performing a room-by-room safety check to look for potential hazards, and take any actions necessary to correct them. When you consider the fact that over 3.5 million children are injured in or around homes each year seriously enough to require emergency care, and over 2,200 of those injuries prove fatal, you can see how important this task is.
When doing a safety check, think about potential hazards in each area of the home. Look around at your eye level, but don’t forget to get down to the eye-level of young children. After all, they see things we might miss. Today we’ll concentrate on just a couple potential hazards to check for.
Chemicals, cleaners, medicines, cosmetics, etc. should be kept out of the reach of young children and locked up. The use of safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers help prevent children from gaining access to these products thereby preventing accidental poisonings. Choose latches and locks that can be easily installed and used, but are sturdy enough to withstand multiple pulls and tugs from children.
Keep the National Poison Control Center’s number posted near phones or in your cell phone contact list: 1-800-222-1222. Call any time you suspect a child has come into contact with a poisonous substance.
Burns and Scalds
Faucets and shower heads should have anti-scald devices on them, and hot water heaters should be set no higher than 120° F to help prevent burns and scalds.
Trips and Falls
All walking surfaces should be kept free of clutter, liquids, cords, or anything that could cause a fall.
Throw rugs should have non-skid backing to reduce chances of slipping.
Porches, hallways, and stairways should be well lighted.
Stairways should have banisters or handrails that extend the full length of the stairs (preferably on each side), and safety gates should be installed at the top and bottom of stairs when babies and toddlers are in the home.
Non-slip mats or safety strips should be used in tubs and showers to prevent slipping. Grab bars are also helpful where there are frail or elderly members in the home.
These are just a few of the areas that need to be addressed to help keep your family safe in the home. Future blogs will cover additional areas. But don’t wait until then to get going. Start your home safety check now!