Your home is more than just a place to eat and sleep; it’s your safe haven. As much as you might cherish your home, you should probably also recognize the potential hazards within its familiar walls. Accidents can happen in an instant, yet with a little foresight and some simple adjustments, you can transform your house into a safer haven.
Accidents can happen anywhere, and with a few simple tweaks, you can lower risks in your space. Below you’ll find five tips for each room in your home to help prevent injuries, falls, and other mishaps. In short, home safety.
This article was inspired by a shower in a rental we managed that began leaking through the kitchen ceiling below. If only the landlord had installed grab bars, right!? Below, we’ll guide you through the steps to fortify your bathroom, making it a place of relaxation without the fear of slips and falls. Then, we’ll venture into the room where the magic happens, where proper planning can ensure great nights and peaceful mornings. In the “hearth” of your home, we’ll show you how to prevent accidents while you experiment becoming the next Gordon Ramsey. And we’ll include a few surprising solutions for those other rooms that hold their own unique hazards, offering solutions to safeguard against unexpected mishaps.
Install Grab Bars: Adding grab bars near the shower and toilet can provide essential support for family members of all ages. Not only can they help with getting in and out, but they can help provide stability when washing. Make sure they are securely anchored to the wall.
Non-Slip Mats: Place non-slip mats inside the shower and bathtub to prevent slips. They’re a small investment that can save you from falls and head injuries.
Adjust Water Temperature: Ensure your hot water is set to a safe temperature to avoid scalding. The hot water heater should be set to around 120°F (49°C)l, the middle setting on many water heater settings.
Medicine Cabinet Locks: If you have young children, use childproof locks on your medicine cabinet to keep harmful substances out of reach.
Proper Lighting: Ensure there’s adequate lighting in the bathroom to avoid trips and falls during nighttime visits. Nightlights can be a simple and effective solution.
Clear Pathways: Keep pathways in the bedroom clutter-free to prevent tripping. Ensure there’s enough space to move around comfortably, particularly getting around the bed. Be aware where all furniture is when walking around to avoid stubbed toes, particularly at night.
Secure Rugs: If you have throw rugs, use rug grippers or double-sided tape to keep them from slipping. Loose rugs are a common trip hazard.
Bed Rails: Fo anyone at risk of falling out of bed, consider installing bed rails to provide extra support and prevent falls.
Nightstands with Drawers: Opt for nightstands with drawers to keep essential items. This reduces the need to get out of bed at night, minimizing the risk of falls, as you race to grab what you need and not lose a moment’s…rest!
Fire Safety: Install battery-operated smoke detectors in the bedrooms if there are none. Make sure to install them 36 inches away from an air vent or the edge of a ceiling fan. Also six inches away from the joint between the wall and ceiling. And test smoke detectors regularly.
Non-Slip Flooring: Choose slip-resistant rugs in the kitchen, especially in areas where spills are common. Mats near the sink and stove can also help and you can often buy them fairly cheaply at Costco.
Childproof Cabinets: If you have little ones, use childproof latches on cabinets and drawers to prevent them from accessing potentially hazardous items.
Anti-tip brackets: Install an anti-tip bracket behind the range. These are often used when children are in the home. Although they are less likely to open the oven door and use it as a step stool to get to the stove-top, adults can also benefit from installing these.
Adequate Lighting: Proper lighting is crucial in the kitchen to avoid accidents. Under-cabinet lighting can illuminate work areas effectively.
Secure Heavy Items: Ensure heavy pots and pans are stored at waist level to prevent straining or dropping them from high shelves.
Sharp Object Storage: Keep knives and other sharp objects in a secure drawer or block. And handle all sharp items with extreme care, even when washing and drying. These steps reduce the risk of accidental cuts.
Furniture Anchors: Secure heavy furniture, like bookshelves and dressers, to the wall to prevent tip-overs, especially if you have young children.
Adequate Outlets: Check for damaged outlets and replace them promptly. Avoid overloading circuits with too many devices. Install placeholder plugs in outlets to prevent young curious fingers (or tongues?) from going inside an electrical outlet.
Stair Gates: If your home has stairs, install safety gates at the top and bottom to prevent falls, especially if you have toddlers or pets to keep them off of the stairs when you cannot monitor them.
Emergency Escape Plan: Develop and practice an emergency escape plan with your family, including a designated meeting place outside.
Carbon Monoxide Detector: If your home burns any fossil fuels for heating or appliances, install carbon monoxide detectors in common areas of your home to detect this odorless gas. The D.C. building codes require this if you use a fireplace or if you have an attached garage. In essence, if there is any potential source of carbon monoxide in the home, be sure to install these detectors.
Remember, a safer home not only prevents accidents but also provides peace of mind for you and your family. Implement these simple tips to create a secure environment in every room of your house.
With these practical tips and a few adjustments, you can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and falls in your home. Enjoy peace of mind in your now much safer haven!
Scott Bloom, Owner and Senior Property Manager, Columbia Property Management
Bloom founded Columbia Property Management in 2012. CPM’s goal is to provide a powerful, personal level of service to our clients. We focus on smaller landlords, professionally managing their assets, so they can succeed by investing in rental real estate.
Scott is an active member in multiple professional organizations including the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and serves on the property management committee of Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (GCAAR).
For more information and resources, go to www.ColumbiaPM.com