June is National Home Safety month so I believe it is the perfect time to assess your home and make sure it is as secure as possible.
The school year is almost over and our children will be spending more time at home. While accidents or injury can occur anytime, there is usually a lot more activity in the summer months when our children are running rampant. So June is a good time to focus on home safety issues. Certain safety hazards are obvious — such as a skateboard left lying at the bottom of the stairs - others are not so easily identifiable — such as the older giant TV monitors that can tilt forward if not fastened correctly.
To keep your family protected, check out our Casa Latina Safety Checklist. Use the checklists to conduct a safety assessment of your home and address issues. With your home’s safety issues addressed you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to protect your family.
Casa Latina Safety Check List
- Post emergency numbers and your address by each telephone
- Make sure inside and outside door handles and locks are easy to operate
- Doors should have lever-action handles instead of round knobs
- All windows should open easily from the inside, but they need to have a secure locking system that can prevent someone from entering from the outside
- Doorways, steps, porches, and walkways should all have good lighting. (the path between the side walk and our front door is part of our home)
- The water heater thermostat should always be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent accidental scalding
- Furniture such as book shelves, tall dressers, armoires and certain refrigerators should be firmly secured with brackets to the walls to prevent tipping
- Painting: If your home was built before 1972 more than likely it was painted with lead-based paint. If you are going to remove the paint yourself make sure to:
- Research lead removal properly before repainting your home
- Wear protective facial mask, because particles are small enough to be inhaled
- Make sure area is well ventilated
- Cover furniture and remove area rugs to prevent dusk particles from settling in or on them
- Have kiddies spend two or three days with grandma depending length of project.
- All medications should be stored in a safe place out of reach of children
- Check walls for loose paint, especially in older homes. If re-painting, do so in a well-ventilated area and consider VOC-free paint.
- All steps inside the home should be in good condition (no loose boards)
- Hallways should be equipped with night-lights. (especially when small children and elderly live in the house)
- Handrails should be checked and securely fastened at least twice a year because they do become loose
- Frequently inspect all steps and walkways leading to your home, both for the front and back of the house. It’s important that they are kept in good condition all year round
- Regularly trim hedges, trees, or shrubs to have an unobstructed view who’s walking towards your front and back door.
- Every home should have a light switch located at the top and bottom of stairways and at both ends of a long hallway
- Make sure that the electrical overload protection is provided by the circuit breakers, fuses, or ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). GFCIs prevent electrical shock and are particularly important in areas where water is used, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and outside
- Make sure that your homes electrical service has enough capacity to serve the house and is up to code. (If uncertain please call your municipal electrical inspector or a reputable electrical contractor to check the wiring in your house.)
- Extension Cords:
- Make sure not to overload them; they should not carry more than their proper load as indicated on the cord or appliance;
- All Electrical cords should be placed out of the flow of traffic and out from underneath rugs and furniture.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
- Should be in place in hallways and near sleeping areas
- Should be installed on every floor
- Should be maintained on a yearly basis to make sure they work correctly (best way to help you remember to change the batteries is to replace them on your birthday—don’t forget to mark it on your calendar)
- Create a Family Safe Exit Plan: In addition to alarms and extinguishers, consider an escape ladder if your home has two floors.
- Twice a year practice with your family a planned escape route (home fire drill),
- Select a location where to meet after leaving the home in case of fire,
- Have three escape exits if possible,
- Have one family member responsible for head count.
- The stove/range should not be located anywhere near curtains that might fall onto a burner
- The kitchen exhaust system is internally vented and should discharge directly outside, or it discharges through ducts to the outside. Make sure it does not discharge into the attic or other unused space
- Consider purchasing a cover kit to keep children from reaching over the stove
- When cooking, try not to wear garments with long, loose sleeves
- All knives should be kept in a knife rack or drawer that is out of reach of small children
- A sturdy, stable stepladder or step stool should be used rather than a chair to reach objects in overhead cabinets
- The bathtub/shower should have a non-skid mat or strips on the standing area
- All glass door surfaces should be made of safety glass
- Grab Bars are not just for the elderly; they are a perfect safety support for both children and expectant mothers. They should be installed on the walls by the bathtub and toilet
- A single-lever mixing faucet should be used, or a faucet with handles that are easy to grasp
- Bathroom floor should be of a matte finish or a textured tile
- All outlets should be ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that protect against electric shock.
Safety is extremely important to us because we know it’s important to you. A larger number of accidents occur because we are either not aware of a hazard or have simply not taken the time to address.
So please take the time to go through our checklist, secure your surroundings and enjoy the summer with a clear conscience!
Marlene Pratt is the co-founder of Casa Latina, an interior designer and on-air television host on both English and Spanish-language television. Follow Marlene on Twitter at @CasaLatinaToday and Like her FB page