We never want to believe our homes are unsafe. Your home is your sanctuary, where you and your loved ones can feel safe and protected.
But the reality is, because we’re so comfortable in our homes, it can be easy to let our guards down to the point that we’re at risk. In fact, there are about 2,000 unintentional home injury deaths among children under 14 every year.
While it’s important that you feel at ease in your own home, it’s equally if not more important that you protect yourself and your family by creating a home safety checklist.
To help you do this, we’ve compiled a list of 10 family safety tips that should be added to your list.
Keep reading to learn more!
1. Create an Emergency Exit Plan
Everyone in your home should also know the location of the fire extinguisher and how to use it. It’s also crucial that you check your smoke alarms regularly to ensure they’re fully functional.
That said, in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or flood, you also need to have an emergency exit plan that everyone in your family can follow. In a major house fire, for example, the best thing you can do is get out.
Create a meeting spot somewhere outside. This location should be close enough to the home that everyone is able to reach it without difficulty, but far enough away that no one is in danger once they’re there.
If you have a two-story home, you’ll need to have a specific plan for the upper floor. Consider purchasing an escape ladder that you can put near a window inside your home. If a fire should occur, you simply latch the ladder to the window sill and climb down to safety.
2. Plan for Storms
Regardless of the area of the country in which you live, you likely have some type of dangerous storm from time to time, whether that be hurricanes, tornadoes, or blizzards. And no matter the type of storm you’re facing, you need to have a strong plan that your entire family is aware of and has practiced.
It’s a good idea to keep a bag filled with items that you might need in a major storm. Include the following items in your kit:
- Non-perishable food
- First aid kit
- Can opener
- Face coverings
- Pet supplies
Emergency preparedness can be the difference between life and death, so be sure that everyone knows what to do and where to go if disaster strikes. For homes with small children, create a storm safety checklist that they can use to keep themselves safe.
3. Install Lights with Timers
Nothing is more welcoming to an intruder than a dark house. To prevent your house from ever appearing vacant, install lights with timers in the interior and exterior of your home.
Motion sensor lights are great for exterior lighting, as they won’t stay on all night, but will turn on if someone or something is moving around the outside of your home. When you’re on vacation, timers can be used inside your home to turn TVs, radios, and lights on and off to give the illusion that someone’s inside.
4. Use a Home Security System
While a home security system may not prevent an intruder from entering your home, it can be enough to scare them away. If the correct password isn’t put into the system, an alarm will sound and the police will be called.
Depending on the system you purchase, you may even have access to features such as a doorbell camera, alerts when your children arrive home from the school bus, and notification if any doors or windows have been left open or unlocked.
Thanks to modern technology, you should be able to control all of this via your smartphone, so you always know the status of your home.
5. Keep Up with Home Maintenance
Poor home maintenance might not sound like a safety hazard, but it absolutely is. Say your lights have been flickering and you’ve been putting off calling an electrician. Well, flickering lights can be a sign of loose electrical wiring, which is one of the most common causes of house fires.
To keep your family safe, do your best to keep up with all aspects of your home maintenance. Ensure that your appliances are in good working order, your roof is sturdy and not in danger of leaking, and your HVAC filter is clean.
You should also have regular maintenance done on your HVAC system and heating tank. Your HVAC system should be inspected twice a year, while your heating tank will need service every 3 years or so, be sure that your family members know this.
6. Adopt a Dog
Dogs not only make excellent additions to any family but can also be instrumental in keeping your home safe. A dog will alert you if there is an intruder or someone near your home, and protect your children from strangers.
Don’t feel like you have to get a large breed in order to protect your family (unless you want one!). Even a small dog’s bark can be enough to deter potential intruders, as they will draw attention and prevent them from getting in and out of your home easily.
7. Survey Your House for Hazards
Every now and then, take the time to survey your house for hazards. According to the CDC, about 8,000 children a day are taken to the emergency room for a fall-related injury, many of which happen at home. And that doesn’t even include poisonings, drownings, suffocations, and burns.
Inspect your home for potential dangers such as sharp edges, improperly stored medications, and small objects that create a choking hazard. Try to look at your home through a child’s eyes. Anything that you see that could cause harm to your child, however unintentional, should be removed, stored away, or child-proofed.
Remove any clutter from around your home that could be attractive to little hands, use nonslip mats in the bathroom, and remove tripping hazards like electrical cords and throw rugs. You should also consider installing baby gates to prevent access to stairways and any rooms that contain safety hazards.
8. Maintain Privacy
To keep your home safe from prying eyes, it’s important to maintain privacy. This means installing a privacy fence in your backyard to keep your children safe while at play and ensuring that your windows have blinds or curtains that can be closed when necessary.
Blinds and curtains should be closed at night and any time you aren’t home. This prevents people from seeing into your home and possibly choosing your home to break into because they see your valuables.
9. Keep Your Home Secure at All Times
Make it a habit to lock exterior doors behind you as soon as you go through them. In addition, walk around your home before bed to check that all of your windows are closed and locked. It’s a good idea to have screens installed in all of the windows as well, as long as you teach your children how to remove them in case of a fire.
Last, remember to always turn your home security system on before you go to bed and whenever you leave the house.
10. Practice Online Safety
Technology is a great thing, we have all of the information we could ever want at the tips of our fingers. But it also poses a major threat to you and your family members. Practicing online safety is one of the most important parts of your home safety checklist, as it’s often when you and your children are most vulnerable.
Teach your children to never give out any personal information or talk to people that they don’t know in real life. Also, do your best to prevent viruses and online threats by installing a security system on your computer.
Identity theft is a major issue and can be difficult to remedy once it happens, so it’s best to avoid it in the first place if at all possible.
Use This Home Safety Checklist to Protect Yourself and Your Family
You should never feel afraid or uneasy in your own home. Yes, dangers lurk everywhere, but by creating a home safety checklist and taking the time to ensure that you’re following it, you can keep your family safe from harm.
Remember, don’t just focus on one area of safety. For maximum effectiveness, take natural disasters, fires, falls, online safety, intrusions, and privacy into account. Going over this list with your family will take time but will be well worth it in the long run!
For more tips on protecting your home and those you love most, take a look at our blog!