Updated May 5, 2020 . AmFam Team
As you find yourself spending more time at home — potentially with your whole family for the whole day — keeping everyone safe should be a top priority. This isn’t always a simple task though, as rooms of your home may have appliances or hazards that can pose a serious risk if not careful. Household accidents can be caused by those hazards, but taking precautionary measures is key to avoiding these mishaps.
We’ve highlighted ways to prevent mishaps in some of the most accident-prone areas of your house. Take a look at these go-to tips to keep your family safe and accident-free at home.
Full of high-speed appliances and sharp cooking utensils, the kitchen has a lot of potential for household accidents. But with a little common sense and by being extra careful, you can help to ensure that the area where you eat and prepare meals is a safer place for everyone in the family.
Immediately clean spills. Whether it’s water from the sink or juice from the fridge, spilling liquids onto the floor is a common occurrence in a busy kitchen. If not cleaned up quickly, these spills can give way to slipping and falling — and potentially cause an injury. Do your best to stay on spills and clean them up right away.
Be careful with hot liquids. Boiling water and other hot liquids can cause serious burns if they’re not handled properly. Be sure to monitor what you’re cooking and turn the heat off the stove when it’s not in use. Position the handles of pots or pans towards the stove so that kids can’t easily grab them while passing by. And be careful when moving pots that are boiling — take it slow and watch your step.
Practice fire safety. Outside of the fireplace, the kitchen is the area of the house where a fire’s most likely to occur. Unattended and greasy frying pans can quickly get out of control if not monitored while cooking, so keep your eyes on the bacon and have a fire extinguisher near the stove. Be sure to check your smoke and fire alarms regularly to ensure they’re working and create a fire escape plan in case a fire does occur.
Keep appliances and cutlery out of reach from children. Blenders, knives, and mixers can be dangerous to anyone, but especially for kids. When not in use, push your appliances away from the ends of the counter so small children cannot reach them, and unplug them when not in use. Be sure to store your sharp knives in areas where your children cannot reach, and always put these utensils away when you’re done using them.
How to Prevent Accidents in the Bathroom
Running water and high temperatures can sometimes be a recipe for accidents, which is why the bathroom is often where many home accidents take place. Follow these tips to make your bathroom safe and accident-free.
Make your floor and tub slip-proof. Between the tub, shower and sink, your bathroom floor can get very wet. All that water can be a big hazard and may cause slips — especially for children or elderly relatives. To prevent that from happening, consider installing non-skid pads in your tub. Grab bars installed on the walls of your shower can similarly help prevent slips by providing support and a place to grip onto.
Think before you flush. Disinfecting wipes and other cleaning materials may seem flushable, but they’re not. If flushed down the toilet, these products can lock up your plumbing — which means an expensive visit by your plumber and a potentially biohazardous bathroom. Always properly dispose of all wipes and cleaning goods when you’re done using them.
Keep the toilet lid down. Toilets with their lids up can be dangerous for infants and small children. When not in use, keep the lid down and consider installing toilet lid latches if worried your kids may try to open it unattended.
Secure your medicine cabinets and cleaning supplies. Young children are naturally curious and may investigate medicine hidden away in a cabinet or they might dig into the cleaning supplies tucked away in a drawer. Installing child-proof locks and cabinet closers can help prevent accidental ingestion of dangerous substances. Carve out some time to teach your children about staying out of the medicine cabinet to help prevent these accidents.
There’s potential for accidents to occur in all areas of your home, but don’t worry. There are many simple things you can do to make your home a safe place for your entire family.
Install banisters and guard rails in stairways. If you’re going to up and down between floors all day, do it safely. A simple banister for your stairs is an easy way to ensure your family —young or old — has support and can safely get between floors.
Be mindful of rugs. Rugs are one of the biggest tripping hazards in your house. A loose rug can cause you to stumble , which can lead to a trip to the ER. Using double-sided tape or no-slip rug mats are easy ways to secure your rugs to the floor.
Declutter. It may be a challenge to keep your house tidy when the whole family is at home. But try to keep your home as clean as possible throughout the day, as things like toys can be tripping hazards and laundry can cause slips. Take some time each day to pick up and keep your floors clean. Think of it as an activity for the whole family.
Check your outlets. Chances are every room in your house has electrical outlets, so make sure they do not become the cause of an accident. Make sure your kids know that outlets should not be played with and teach them how to use them correctly. Inspect wiring and power cords connected to outlets for frays or damage and replace them as necessary. Always be sure to turn off the power and unplug any power cords you are inspecting. Tuck any loose cords out of the way to prevent potential trips.
Stay within your comfort zone. When working from home, you may be tempted to work on projects you’d usually hire a professional for. Sometimes, clearing gutters or tree trimming may be achievable on your own, but if you’ve never done them before you may not know how to do these tasks safely. Be safe and ask for help, and if you need to attempt a tricky project on your own – remember – safety first.
While you’re making your home safer for the whole family, remember to check in with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to go over your homeowners insurance and make sure your policy is set up to protect your family and your home.