Every year, almost 6,000 people in the UK die from accidents at home. Around 30.8 million American people visit their emergency department every year due to unintentional accidents, many of which occur in the home. Shockingly, over 150 Australian children are killed and nearly 70,000 have to go to hospital because of accidents, many of which are preventable. Top reasons for child injury in Australia include: falls from household furniture and equipment, being hit by falling objects like books or ornaments, being cut by household items, being scalded from beverages or hot water, drowning (commonly in the backyard pool) and poisoning from household medication or cleaners.
Every household can make key changes to improve the safety of their family home so that tragedies and inconvenient accidents don’t happen. If you want to make your home a much safer place, consider the following suggestions and ideas:
Get Fire Safety In Order
In the UK, around 80% of all fire incidents occur in the home. A lot of those fires are preventable and you can easily fireproof your home by making some small changes such as:
- Fitting a smoke alarm
- Keeping lighters, matches and electrical items out of reach of children
- Covering sockets
- Installing cupboard locks
- Keeping electrical wiring out of areas where your family/ pets walk
- Ensure electrical items are safe
- Having a fire escape plan if one does occur
- Having the chimney checked annually
- Fitting carbon monoxide detectors
- Fitting fire safety apparatus like extinguishers
If you want advice on fire safety, your local fire service will likely offer a fire check service for free.
Improve The Safety Of Out-Buildings
Sheds, summerhouses and garages often get neglected when it comes to safety. Because we don’t spend any length of time in them, we don’t tend to focus as much on safety in those places. Because of that carelessness, they can be some of the most dangerous places on our property. Garden tools all over the place and within easy reach of children, fuel containers left to leak on the floor, trip hazards everywhere with no real lighting in sight.
Spend a little time getting these areas organised, looking into safe storage solutions for tools, garden accessories and things like wood or fuel. A bunded fuel tank, for example, is an extremely safe way to store fuel without having to worry about leakage or fire hazards. Ideally in any shed, garage or summerhouse, there is lockable storage for everything but the furniture, adequate lighting, no trip hazards and adequate ventilation.
Protect Yourself Against Burglary
In Australia, over 74,000 offenders were prosecuted for burglary related crimes between 2015 and 2016, but the rate of burglaries and attempted property theft is likely much higher, the culprits just haven’t been caught. In America, the statistics prove to be just as shocking, if not more, with a burglary being attempted every 18 seconds! You can make some easy changes to protect yourself against burglary and at very little cost:
- Get a security system or even just a fake alarm, as these repel potential intruders
- Get some in home cameras installed for when you are at work, as most burglaries occur during the day
- Always show signs you are at home, even if it is with a timed light switch, a family member picking up your mail, or a friend stopping by to mow the lawn to keep intruders away whilst you are on holiday
- Improve your locks to the latest lock technology as most intruders know how to pick a lock, break in and escape a house in less than ten minutes
- Hide valuables in strange places – intruders will think to look in drawers and obvious places for valuables, not in places like a cereal box, or in a board game box
As well as taking all the best measures you can to protect your home against theft, it makes sense to get good insurance so if the worst does happen, you are protected.
Babyproof Your Home
If you do have a baby, are expecting, or you have young children, babyproofing and child-proofing your home is so important. There is too much information to include in this article to be thorough with such an important topic, so check out any of the following guides for further advice and guidance:
Enhance Garden Safety
The garden can be a common place for accidents. Around 100 tree accidents that result in death occur in the US every single year. 291 Australians died last year through drowning, and many of those accidents occured in backyard pools. Even open gates or old unchecked trampolines or climbing frames can be dangerous if left unattended.
To enhance garden safety the first thing that is wise to change is security. Are there gaps in the hedges? Is the gate secure? Children and pets should not be able to get out of the garden if they try.
Following the security changes, checking the garden itself is safe is a great idea. Getting an arboriculturist to check trees and shrubs, and clearing any overgrown areas with thorns and weeds will ensure the garden itself poses no risk.
After you have checked the garden itself is safe, any garden additions should be checked and adjusted for optimum safety. A pond for example: is lethal to a toddler who cannot swim. Secure netting or fencing is vital, and any water feature like a pool or hot tub should be treated as a potential danger and should be unreachable without adult supervision unless an adult is there to maintain safety. Any equipment in the garden like climbing frames and wendy houses should also be checked regularly for signs or wear and rot.
At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security – Jodi Rell
You deserve to feel safe and secure in your home, and there is plenty you can do to ensure it is the safe haven you and your family will treasure. Be proactive and if you have a large property, think about enlisting the help of a health and safety expert who can help you make the necessary changes for a secure and safe home. Any changes you do make, and any effort you put in, is a strong investment into the happiness and health of your family and the home you share together.