According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2017 report, about 146,571 people died from unintentional injury-related deaths in 2015. More than 33,000 people died from falls alone. While some homeowners are careful to remember to clean their gutters and have their furnaces checked once a year, too many of us skip over the basic yearly home maintenance that can prevent injuries and falls – and keep you and your family healthy.
Here is a quick checklist you can use to complete your own annual home safety check:
✔ Take a look at the electrical outlets in each room. Replace any frayed wires and reorganize any overloaded outlets. Use outlet covers if you have small children.
✔ Test all smoke alarms and replace the batteries yearly.
✔ Test all carbon monoxide alarms (or install them if you don’t have them) and replace the batteries yearly.
✔ Take a walk around the outside of your home. Are all the vents clear? Do you need to remove any leaves, brush, or landscaping to make sure that air can circulate properly?
✔ Check and clean your dryer vent.
✔ If you have a fireplace, hire a yearly chimney sweep.
✔ Check all bathrooms thoroughly for mold – look at baseboards, around all fixtures, and at any seams where water or steam could collect.
✔ Note any faucets that leak and schedule repairs. Besides running up your water bill, dripping water could leak and cause mold or other damage to your home.
✔ Take a walk through your home with soft socks or slippers on, noting where the floors could be slippery. Consider adding nonskid rugs or taking other precautions where needed.
✔ Add nonskid pads underneath all area and throw rugs.
✔ Consider adding motion-activated night lights in hallways and bathrooms to prevent nighttime falls.
✔ Do a full house check of all cleaning supplies. Discard any old or leaking containers and ensure all poisonous cleaning materials are stored well out of the reach of curious children or pets.
✔ Do a full house check of all medications. Prescription or not, all drugs should be stored in their original containers, out of the reach of children and pets, and ideally in a cool, dry environment (versus a warm, humid bathroom cabinet)
Remember – our list is not exhaustive, so use common sense and think through the risks for your home. Real Simple Magazine has a comprehensive and easy to print list here . Take a weekend to make your home safer this winter and help your family avoid preventable accidents and unnecessary trips to the doctor.
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