Safe at Home Preventing Household Dangers: A Room-by-Room Guide
Based on the home safety guide published by the Home Safety Council http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/mysafehome/msh_GH_p001.pdf
KITCHEN SAFETY Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. In addition, kitchens usually contain a stock of dangerous household chemicals, often within the reach of children.
KITCHEN SAFETY • Be a smart cook • In the kitchen, always keep the heat under control: • Stay in the kitchen while cooking. If you must walk away for a moment, turn the heat off or to very low and return to the stove quickly. • Use masking tape to mark off a “child-free zone” around the stove. • Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels and paper or plastic bags, at least three feet away from the range top. • Before cooking, roll up your sleeves and use long oven mitts. Loose fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire
KITCHEN SAFETY • Put away the poisons • Keep household chemicals in locked cabinets and out of the reach of children: • Look for signal words on labels that alert you to potentially poisonous products (e.g., “Caution,” “Warning,” or “Danger”). • Store poisons, cleaners, and all other dangerous items in a place where children can’t touch them. Use child locks on cabinets. • Post emergency numbers, including the Poison Control • hotline number (1-800-222-1222), next to every phone. • Keep cleaners in their original containers. Do not mix them together because their contents could react with dangerous results
KITCHEN SAFETY • Keep your cool during a pan fire • Always cook oil or grease SLOWLY, and watch carefully • while it heats. Should you experience a fire in a pan on the stovetop: • Don’t attempt to move the pan outside or throw water on it— • this can cause serious burns and may spread the fire. Do not use a fire extinguisher, as it sprays with such force that it can tip over the pan and spread the burning grease. • Instead, put on oven mitts, then slide a lid or a large cookie sheet over the pan fire, and keep it in place. Then, turn off the burner.
BEDROOM SAFETY Reduce risk Lower the odds of home fires by taking these preventive measures: • Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Turn them off when you leave the room or go to sleep. • Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Blow out the candle if you leave the room or go to sleep. Or, choose battery-operated “flameless candles.” • Keep all lighters and matches locked away and out of the reach of children. • If you smoke, do so outside. Empty ashtrays into the trash often, dousing them with water first.
BEDROOM SAFETY Install smoke alarms Smoke alarms are your family’s early warning system—cutting the risk of fire-related fatalities almost in half: • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside every bedroom. Buy both ionization- and photoelectric-type alarms for the best detection of flaming and smoldering fires, respectively.
BEDROOM SAFETY • Test alarms monthly to make sure they are working properly, and install fresh batteries at least once a year. Choose a brand you can trust. • If your alarms are ten years old or more, replace them. • Sleeping children may not wake up to the sound of a smoke alarm. Expose them to it so they will know and respond to it, but assign an adult to help children escape in a fire
BEDROOM SAFETY Plan an escape Develop a fire escape plan for your family: • Make a map of your home and identify two exits from every room. • Choose a safe spot just outside the home (e.g., a tree in front of your house) where the family will meet after escaping. • Hold a family fire drill at least twice each year, including one at night.
BATHROOM SAFETY • Hot water burns – “The overlooked danger ‘ • Believe it or not, hot water or steam can burn the skin like fire. Liquid at 140˚F can burn the skin in as little as 5 seconds—or 1 second for a young child. • According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 3,800 injuries and over 30 deaths occur in the home each year due to hot water burns.
BATHROOM SAFETY • Take these safety measures to keep water at a safe temperature: • Know how hot your tap water is. Test the temperature with a bath or candy thermometer. Lower the temperature of your hot water heater, ideally to 120˚F,or just below the medium setting. • For bathing, turn the cold water on first, then mix in warmer water until the temperature reaches around 100˚F. Note that the suggested water temperature for babies is lower due to their thinner skins. • Before placing your child in the tub, put your whole hand in the • water and move it around the tub to check for hot spots.
BATHROOM SAFETY Stay in reach For young children, even a few inches of water in a bathtub can pose a drowning hazard. Don’t let kids out of your sight: • Always stay within arm’s reach when children are bathing. Never allow older children to supervise younger kids. • Always help young children use the sink or tub. • If you have toddlers, use toilet seat locks and doorknob covers. Always keep bathroom doors closed.
BATHROOM SAFETY Keep a grip Everyone, especially older adults, needs sturdy support on the ground and within arm’s reach to prevent falls in the bathroom: • Install secure grab bars in bathtubs and showers, and near toilets. New models are attractive and easy to install. • Use a non-slip mat or adhesive safety strips inside the bath or shower. • Use bathmats to catch drips, and always wipe up spills immediately.
CHILDRENS ROOMS - NURSERIES Follow these steps to avoid choking or suffocation hazards: • Place infants to bed on their backs on a firm mattress. Don’t put pillows, comforters, or toys in cribs. • Look carefully at toys and dispose of those with small or broken parts that could become lodged in an infant’s throat. • Coins, latex balloons, nuts, hard candies…if it fits through a toilet paper tube, it can cause young children to choke. Keep these items out of reach. • Check www.cpsc.gov for recalls of toys and other consumer products.
THE HOME OFFICE Today, many people work out of their homes. You can make your workspace safer for your family with just a few simple steps: • If you have small children at home, use a doorknob cover to keep them from entering the office alone. Install safety covers on unused electrical outlets. • Shredders, paper cutters, desktop equipment, and other hazards should be placed well out of children’s reach. • Make sure taller bookcases are bolted to the wall so they cannot tip. Keep power strips and electrical cords out of walkways and be sure not to overload them.
WINDOWS Window falls among children are common, especially in the spring and summer: • Install specially designed window guards on upper windows to prevent children from falling out. Make sure they have a quick-release mechanism to allow them to open from the inside in case of a fire. • Move furniture away from windows. • Never leave children unattended near open windows. • Window-blind cords can present a serious strangulation hazard. Clip the loops in window cords and place them up high where children can’t reach, or upgrade to cordless blinds.
THE STAIRWAY Falls are by far the leading cause of home injury, accounting for 5.1 million home injuries and nearly 6,000 deaths a year—the vast majority occurring among adults age 65 and older. Less than 1 in 5 U.S. adults say that falls are their top home safety concern.
THE STAIRWAY Consider these stair safety tips to protect everyone in your household: • In homes with young children, use sturdy safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways. • All stairways and steps, no matter how short, should have handrails on both sides. • Install bright lights with on/off switches at the top and bottom of each stairwell and over porches and entryways. • Keep stairways and steps clear of all objects. Never use the stairs for temporary storage or for displaying decorative items.
THE GARAGE Safely store the dangerous stuff Hazardous substances sit side-by-side in your garage and they don’t mix well with others: • Store dangerous chemicals—including automotive fluids, pesticides, charcoal lighter, paint thinner, pool chemicals, antifreeze, and turpentine—in containers with child-resistant caps, in locked cabinets. • Wear gloves and a mask when handling these chemicals, and do not mix together. Keep these products in their original containers. • Gasoline is highly flammable and should be stored in small quantities in a tightly sealed, approved safety container and away from appliances with a pilot light, such as a hot water heater. Keep it in a separate, locked shed if possible.
THE BACKYARD Protect in the pool Keep a constant eye on your kids in and around the pool: • Install isolation fencing that encloses all four sides of the pool, is at least five feet high, and has a self-closing, self-locking gate. The fence should separate the house from the pool. Always keep the gate closed and locked. • Assign at least one adult “water watcher” whenever kids are in or near the pool—or around any container or body of water, including ponds, bathtubs, toilets, and buckets. That person’s sole responsibility should be to watch the children closely. • No child or adult should be allowed to swim alone without another adult present.
THE BACKYARD Secure the playground Before your kids slide down a slide or climb aboard a swing, follow these tips: • Test to see whether playsets are safe and sturdy, and make sure they do not have loose connections. • Cover areas under and around play equipment with soft materials such as hardwood chips, mulch, or pea gravel. Materials should be 9 to 12 inches deep and extend six feet from all sides of play equipment. • Use play equipment and accessories appropriate for your children’s age. Children under age five should not play on anything above five feet high.
THE BACKYARD Safeguard your lawn & garden Before mowing the lawn or throwing steaks on the grill, understand that the equipment itself needs to be handled with care: Mowing safety • Before mowing, check your lawn for any objects that could shoot from under the blade, and check that all guards are in place. • When mowing, keep children inside the house or well away from the area. Use safety goggles and hearing protection.
THE BACKYARD Grilling safety • Use only starter fluid made for barbecue grills when starting a fire in a charcoal grill. Always follow directions on the label. Never use a match to check for fuel leaks. • Never leave barbecue grills unattended while in use. Keep grills at least three feet away from other objects, including the house and shrubs or bushes. • Before discarding any ashes, make sure they have completely cooled. Add water and stir to put out buried embers. Transfer to a metal can with a top.
PET SAFETY We love our pets like family, so plan for their safety as you would for any loved one. Remember that their well-being depends solely on your smart decision-making. • Keep chemicals such as antifreeze away from pets. • Include pet food and supplies in your disaster preparedness kit. • A home fire sprinkler system protects pets, too: If a fire breaks out when you’re away, sprinklers can control the fire, often fully extinguishing it. • Keep people safe from your pets: According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children.
top 10 home safety tips • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area. Test them monthly. If your smoke alarms are ten years old or more, replace them. If you build or remodel your home, install fire sprinklers. • Develop a fire escape plan for your family: Point out two exits from each room, pick a meeting spot outside, and hold a fire drill at least twice a year. • Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking on the stove. • Keep all stairways, paths, and walkways well lit. Use railings. • Install grab bars in bath and shower stalls, and use a non-slip mat or adhesive safety strips inside bathtubs and showers.
top 10 home safety tips • Post the National Poison Control Hotline number (1-800-222-1222) and other emergency numbers next to every phone in your home. • Install child locks on all cabinets used to store dangerous items such as poisons, matches, and lighters. Install carbon monoxide alarms. • Keep your water heater setting at 120˚F or less. • Install four-sided pool fencing with self-locking and self-closing gates. Fencing should completely isolate the pool from the home and be at least five feet high. • Constantly supervise children in or near bodies of water such as pools, ponds, bathtubs, toilets, and buckets.