Home Safety Checklist
Common Household Injuries and a Checklist for Home Safety
Last week we kicked-off National Wellness Month with tips on Organizing Your Home and Life for Wellness. This week we continue to focus on the home with a checklist for safety.
Below are a few points on common household injuries followed by a list of home checks you can perform to help prevent these and other dangers..
By far, more people are hospitalized from falls than any other home injury. In every room, falls can be avoided.
Fires are one of the leading cause of death from injuries for children ages 5 to 9. You can prevent fires and plan and practice your escape. Quick action saves lives! Smoke alarms give you more time to get out.
Accidental poisonings at home cause many hospital stays for all age groups. People can
be poisoned by food, household cleaners (soaps and bleaches), lead, carbon monoxide gas, or medicines. Carbon monoxide detectors can warn you of a problem, but it is still important to follow all the poisoning tips in our checklist.
For children under 5 years old, scalds (burns with hot liquid or steam) are, next to falls, the most common injury leading to hospital stays.
Suffocation causes many deaths and hospital stays for children, young adults and adults over 45.
Drowning leads to many hospitalizations and deaths, mostly in people under 25.
Home Safety Checklist
√ Keep walkways clear and well lit.
√ If you have infants and toddlers in the house, make sure all heavy, tipple furniture is secured to walls with security mounting accessories you can find online.
√ If your home was built before 1978, it probably has lead paint. Remodeling projects that disturb lead paint can spread lead dust through the home. Ask your local or state health department for low-dust remodeling tips.
√ Damp mop and damp dust (sponge or microfiber dust cloths) at least weekly. Dust can make asthma and other breathing problems worse. Lead in dust can get into children’s bodies and cause health problems.
√ Supply enough fresh air throughout the house. Make sure at least one window in each room opens. When you can, take smelly projects outside. Air the house well if you must do these projects indoors.
√ Empty cleaning buckets, wading pools, and other containers that hold water. Young children can drown in even tiny amounts of water.
√ Use window guards in upstairs windows to prevent dangerous falls. Check with your code enforcement officials, too. Window guards are required in some localities.
√ Fill unused outlets with plastic safety plugs if there are toddlers in the house. Keep electrical cords away from small children.
√ For added safety, use ground-fault circuit interrupter power strips (cords that turn on and off) instead of extension cords.
√ Be careful with extension cords. Too many items on a cord can start a fire. Some appliances should only be used with thick, heavy-duty cords.
√ Place lights so they can be turned on without walking through a dark area.
√ Remove cords or wires that cross walkways.
√ Have an electrician install or inspect your wiring.
√ Fix or replace frayed or cracked electrical cords.
√ Never nail or staple wiring to walls or baseboards.
√ Make sure all electrical devices have passed testing by a recognized lab. Look for UL or ETL on the label.
√ If you have fuses, always use the correct size. Never use coins! The fuse box should be labeled. If it’s a 15-amp circuit, use only a 15-amp fuse. Anything higher is a fire hazard.
√ Use only the sizes and types of light bulbs listed for your lamps so they do not overheat.
√ Keep a bulb in all light fixtures (even a burned-out bulb) to prevent electric shocks.
√ Be sure electric heaters are grounded (three-prong plug). Connect them directly
to wall outlets (do not use extension cords). Never leave a child alone in a room with a space heater.
√ To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and fires, place space heaters where they can’t be tipped over, and away from furniture, beds and curtains. Ask your local or state health department for the “Supplemental Space Heaters” fact sheet.
√ Be sure any wood burning equipment is properly installed. Inspect it often for buildup and clean stovepipes and chimneys each fall, and as needed throughout the heating season. Keep small children away from the wood burning area.
√ Use a smoke alarm on every floor, and be sure one is placed in each sleeping area and outside each sleeping area/bedroom. Do not place smoke alarms in the kitchen.