Home Safety: A Comprehensive Checklist

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, ensuring the safety of our loved ones must take centre stage.  As we celebrate Family Safety Week, let’s embark on a journey to create a haven that is not just warm and welcoming but also secure.  In Home Safety:  A Comprehensive Safety Checklist we will guide you through essential steps to protect your home and family.

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Fire Safety

Fire safety is a paramount concern for every household.  Taking proactive measures in this area can make a significant difference in protecting your loved ones and property. 

Smoke detectors

Start by installing smoke detectors. A smoke detector alerts you to the earliest signs of smoke and potential fire hazards. Ensure that there is sufficient coverage on every floor especially in bedrooms and the kitchen and don’t forget to test your smoke detector regularly.

Fire Blankets

A fire blanket is an indispensable safety feature in any kitchen.   Serving as a first line of defence against small cooking fires.  Fire blankets are designed from fire-resistant materials and smother flames from kitchen fires but cutting off the fire’s oxygen supply. Having a fire blanket at close hand in the kitchen can help prevent a minor fire escalating to a more serious incident.

Fire Extinguishers

Investing in a fire extinguisher for your kitchen adds an extra layer of defence.  Ensure that all family members know how to operate it and where the extinguisher is located. 

An easy way to remember how to safely use a fire extinguisher is to think PASS:

  1. PULL the pin
  2. AIM the nozzle at the base of the fire
  3. SQUEEZE the handle to release the extinguishing agent
  4. SWEEP the nozzle from side to side

Additionally, before even attempting to use the extinguisher, always make sure that you have a clear escape route and that the fire is still at a manageable size.  When using the extinguisher, stand at a safe distance and use short bursts to avoid depleting the extinguishing agent too quickly.  If you are unable to put out or control the fire, call the emergency services immediately.

Another important thing to remember is to regularly check the extinguisher’s expiration date and replace the appliance promptly if needed.

Develop A Fire Escape Plan

  • Start by assessing the layout of your home identifying all possible exits.  Take note and remove potential obstacles that might hinder a quick escape.
  • Make sure that you include all family members in developing your escape plan and assign specific responsibilities to each family member.  Ensure that someone is assigned to assisting younger children or gathering pets during an evacuation.
  • Assign a meeting point which is a safe distance from your home.
  • Conduct fire drills at various times including both day and night. This helps everyone become familiar with the escape plan and ensures a quick and orderly evacuation should the need arise.
  • Take into account any special circumstances within your household.  If you have family members with mobility issues or special medical needs be sure to tailor your escape plan to accommodate them.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts, including local and medical services and make sure that everyone in the household knows how to call for help and understand the importance of doing so promptly.

Gas Safety

You may also wish to consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.  Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas.  This means that you will be unable to detect the same without having specialised detection equipment.  Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea and death!

A Carbon Monoxide Detector is absolutely invaluable in quickly identifying a gas leak in your home and you should definitely consider purchasing a Carbon Monoxide Detector if you have any of the following at home:

  • Heating Systems – Malfunctioning furnaces, gas water heater or blocked chimneys can lead to CO leaks.
  • Gas Appliances – Homes with gas stoves, ovens or fireplaces are susceptible to carbon monoxide emissions,  A detector helps monitor these areas for any signs of gas leaks or incomplete combustion. Whilst at university my friend’s dad installed a Carbon Monoxide Detector in our home and it proved to be a lifesaver as we did indeed have a CO leak at one stage!
  • Attached Garages – If your home has an attached garage, the fumes from running vehicles can seep into living spaces.  A Carbon Monoxide Detector  can alert you to any dangerous levels of CO.
  • Generators and Combustion Engines – If you use generators or combustion engines indoors during power outages you should be aware that these can produce high levels of CO.  A detector is crucial to ensure safety during such situations.
  • Fireplace – Wood-burning fireplaces can also be a source of MO if not properly ventilated. A detector can ensure that the combustion process is efficient and safe.

Childproofing

As any new parent knows (or more likely is told by their parents!) childproofing your home is a vital step in creating a safe environment for your little ones.  I remember still being pregnant with my first son and my mum telling me I needed to replace a coffee table as the glass was slightly chipped on the side! 

Children are naturally curious and prone to exploring with no concept of possible dangers.  Taking proactive measures to minimise potential hazards is therefore an essential consideration for parents or caregivers.  Conducting a thorough home safety assessment is a crucial step in identifying and mitigating potential dangers.  I would begin such an assessment by systematically going through each room in your home.  Look for potential hazards things like:

  • Sharp objects
  • Loose cords
  • Small items which can pose a choking risk
  • Location and arrangement of furniture

Electrical Safety

Install outlet covers to keep little fingers safe.  Secure cords from electronics and lamps to reduce the risk of tripping or strangulation.

Furniture Safety

Ensure that furniture is kept away from windows and that there are no items that can easily topple over.  Use wall anchors to secure furniture and TV units and consider using corner guards to protect from injuries from sharp edges

Stair Safety

Install safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases to prevent falls.  Ensure that any railings are safe and if there are gaps through which a small child could slip through, consider adding mesh or other protective barriers.

Kitchen Safety

The kitchen can harbour a whole range of dangers for our curious little ones.  Make your kitchen a “child friendly zone” by considering the following:

  • Stove knob covers – these prevent your little ones accidentally turning on stove burners.
  • Oven lock  – these locks prevent children from opening hot ovens
  • Cupboard locks– keep knives, scissors and other sharp utensils out of reach with these childproof locks.  Childproof locks should also be installed in any cabinet holding cleaning supplies and chemicals
  • Small items such as bottle caps, grapes and the like can be potential choking hazards.  Keep these out of reach and be mindful when preparing foods, making sure to cut items into age-appropriate sizes.
  • Unplug electrical appliances such as blenders and food processors and store keep out of reach when not in use
  • Never leave the kitchen unattended whilst cooking especially if there are children about.  Ensure that pot handles are turned inward to prevent accidental spills and use the back burners when possible.  
  • Keep a well stocked First Aid Kit to hand because, no matter how careful you are, accidents do happen!

Window and Blind Safety

Install window guards to prevent possible falls from windows and wind up blind cords to eliminate the risk of strangulation.

Bathroom Safety

While the bathroom is often considered a sanctuary and a place for relaxation, it can harbour hidden hazards for young explorers.  One non-negotiable bathroom safety rule is to NEVER leave a child alone in the bath.

While it is easy to presume that a small amount of water will pose a minimal risk, the reality is that even a little water can become a serious hazard for small children if left unattended.  It takes only a few inches of water for a child to be at risk of drowning and a child can easily lose balance or slip under the water.  This risk is particularly high for toddlers who may lack the coordination to keep themselves upright.  Ensure that all essentials are within arm’s reach before starting our bath time routine and do not step away even for a moment.

From a practical perspective, consider using non-slip mats to prevent slips and falls and use a bath thermometer to check the water temperature.  We like this fun duck thermometer which your children can also play with.  If any medicines or cleaning supplies are stored in the bathroom, secure the same with cupboard locks.  We also recommend installing toilet locks as toilets are also, for some reason only known to them, a fascinating feature for toddlers! 

Ensure that all electrical appliances are unplugged and stored securely when not in use.  This will minimise the risk of burns or electrical accidents.

Bedroom Safety

Ensuring a safe sleeping environment for babies and young children is paramount for their well being and your peace of mind. 

Start by selecting a cot or crib which adheres to safety standards.  Ensure that the slats are spaced no more than 2 ⅜ inches apart to prevent the risk of your baby getting trapped within the spaces.  Make sure that the mattress  fits snugly and there are no gaps within the sides.

Experts recommend firm mattresses to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  It is also recommended that babies sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Avoid soft bedding such as pillows and quilts,  Baby sleep sacks can be considered as an alternative to blankets and quilts. We also recommend that plush toys are kept away from the crib as these can increase the risk of suffocation.  

Home Security

Now that we have covered how to make the inside of our home as safe as possible, let’s look at how we can protect our valuables and our loved ones from external forces.

  • Reinforce exterior doors with solid cores and install high-quality deadbolt locks
  • Consider installing a smart lock system which allows you to monitor and control access to your property remotely
  • Install sturdy locks on all windows and consider reinforcing them with security film or laminated glass to make forced entry more difficult
  • Install motion-activated light around entrances, pathways and other vulnerable areas as a well-lit exterior acts as a deterrent to potential intruders
  • Install surveillance cameras covering entry points, driveways and other critical areas.  
  • Invest in a reliable home security system with alarms and sensors
  • Consider installing a home safe to secure important documents and valuables.  Anchor the safe to the wall or floor to prevent it from being easily removed 
  • If your home has a garage, ensure that it is secure by installing a robust garage door lock and considering installing a smart garage door opener that allows you to control access remotely
  • Install sturdy gates with secure locks and regularly inspect and repair any damage to the same ensuring that it remains an effective barrier against intruders
  • Participate in or establish a neighbourhood watch program

A Safe House Makes A Happy Home

When we return home after a long day at work we want to make sure that we return to a safe and happy sanctuary. Our homes are not just shelters, they are the foundations of cherished memories.  By prioritising home safety, we ensure that these memories are built of a steadfast and secure foundation.  

We hope that you have found this blog post useful and if you want more information on how to keep your home safe whilst travelling check out our blog here.

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