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How to keep safe at home

2021-11-22

Family at home

Our homes are meant to be places of safety; environments where we can relax and be at peace. A house can be a dangerous place, however, if it’s not properly looked after or if we make careless decisions. But beyond obvious things like locking the door at night, how can we make our home’s safe havens for all who reside there? In this guide, we highlight a selection of tips for keeping safe at home, whether you are living in retirement or have a young family to protect.

Child-proof your electric sockets

If you have small children at home or have grandchildren visiting, making sure that you childproof your electric sockets is a good idea. You can prevent children from sticking their fingers in the socket (or other dangerous items) by putting socket protectors in place. These cover the sockets themselves so you can relax in knowing that babies and young children can’t come to any harm.

Don’t tempt burglars

When speaking to us about their home safety advice, security expert Rebecca Edwards from home safety website SafeWise shared the importance of guarding against criminals: “Whether it’s the view through a window or a post on social media, things like high-end electronics, collectables, art, and jewellery can catch a burglar’s interest. Close blinds and curtains and be careful of what you post online.

“Speaking of online posts, deactivate the location tags on your camera or phone. A lot of times, location information is automatically added to a photo and even if the location isn’t displayed on your post, a savvy thief can look to find it in the metadata of the photo.”

Teach children about dangers

If you can take the time to teach children about the dangers posed around the home and how to be safe, you will make things so much easier. This is the advice that comes our way from mum Rebecca from the lifestyle blog Futures: “My top tip is to ensure they know the dangers. From a young age, we try to ensure they are aware of what things around the home can be dangerous and what they can and cannot do. Of course, children are inquisitive, so they occasionally do get a little curious. However, we have found that by teaching them what is dangerous but allowing them not to be completely scared of them, they are less likely to go near them.”

Secure tall bookcases and dressers to the wall

While you might think that your furniture isn’t in any danger of falling, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if you have a tall bookcase or dresser. These can easily be wobbled and if a child should crash into one or try to climb it, a nasty accident could occur. So, take measures to secure furniture like this to the wall and make your home that bit safer in the process.

READ ALSO: Top tips for how to reduce noise at home

Keep your medication in a locked cabinet

Medicine cabinet

Medication in the wrong hands can lead to dire consequences. It’s not just young children that need to be thought of, but adults can also cause themselves damage by taking the wrong pills. A great way to look after children or ageing relatives that you care for, and avoid taking the wrong pills, is by keeping medication in a locked cabinet. With children in the house, a high shelf is better than nothing, but they can still reach by climbing. So, consider opting for a cabinet with a key or code entry.

Buy a lift that puts safety first

Beyond being a convenient item that can add a wonderful sense of luxury to your home, home lifts are also a great way to keep safe, especially in older age. If you or a loved one is starting to struggle with stairs, you can prevent falls and injuries by getting a lift installed.

READ ALSO: How to future-proof your home

If you would like to install a wheelchair lift for your home, due to mobility or any other reason, make sure that it is CE marked and that it has a reliable SIL3 control system. SIL3 (Safety Integrity Level 3) is very rare in the lift business but ensures reliable operation of the control system, thus the lift. Also, make sure that your lift is equipped with a battery emergency lowering system so that you can lower and evacuate the lift without outside help in case of a power outage.

READ ALSO: How to buy a home lift

Install a stair gate

Young children and stairs don’t mix well so taking preventative measures to protect them against nasty falls is a must. Rachel, from the lifestyle blog Home in the Pastures, shared with us her advice for home safety, advising for those with young children that a stair gate is very helpful: “My top tip for keeping the home safe when young children are around is to have stair gates installed. I believe they are vitally important at the top of the stairs to prevent falling. It’s best to have a stair gate that is screwed into the wall and banister rather than a pressure fit one, so they are not able to push through it – kids are strong when they need to be”

Ensure alarm systems are working

Woman checking home alarm

It’s very important to ensure things like smoke alarms are working correctly on a regular basis, the same goes for any security systems you might have. There is no use having these measures in place if they are not working when you need them.

If you don’t have a security alarm system for your home, putting one in place is well worth considering. There are some very sophisticated systems available, that can send alerts to your phone or allow you to monitor your home by video for further peace of mind.

Have an emergency plan

Why not consider putting an emergency plan in place should the worst happen? This is a great idea, especially if you have children at home. Without scaring anyone, talk to them but what to do if there’s a fire, where they should go etc. If you live somewhere remote or where there is extreme weather, having supplies for food and water is also a good idea in case you can’t leave the house due to something like too much snow.

Resource StaySafe.org advises: “Getting everyone to know what to do in case of an emergency such as fire will give one satisfaction that the family is safe even while away. In case of an emergency, people need to react fast and there should be a safe way to get out. This safety rule at home should also be introduced to anyone who comes to stay with the family for a short period in order to ensure that everyone is protected.”

Use the tech you already have

While not available everywhere, technology like Alexa Guard can also prove useful for promoting home safety. Rebecca from SafeWise explains the benefits when speaking to us: “A lot of people don’t realize that their smart speaker can add an extra layer of security to their home. Amazon Echo speakers have a free built-in feature called Alexa Guard. When you activate Guard, it listens for sounds of trouble, like glass breaking or the smoke alarm. If it hears something, you get a push notification and can ‘drop-in’ on your device to hear what’s happening in real-time. Then you can call for help or dismiss any false alarms. You can also set it up to make a barking sound or activate any smart lights you have connected to your Echo, which might scare away an intruder.”

Turn on outdoor lights at night

Outdoor light at home

Another way you can make your home a safer place is by utilising outdoor lights for any entrances to the house. When it’s dark it can be easy to miss a step or slip on a patch of ice. By putting some automatic lights up that turn on whenever you approach, or just remembering to turn a light on at night when someone is due home, can help avoid accidents. Automatic lights can also be a great deterrent to criminals so are well worth the investment.

Automatic lights are something that Rebecca from SafeWise highlighted when speaking to us: “Leaving a front light on all night isn’t the best deterrent—in fact, it can indicate that no one is at home. A better solution is to use outdoor lights with timers or motion detection. This way the lights will come on when they detect someone sneaking up to your door, or on a random schedule that you can program. If you opt for a smart light bulb, you can skip the motion and timer altogether, and simply control the light through an app on your phone.”

Only buy CE marked toys and household appliances

When shopping, especially online, a great way to know you are getting a safe product in Europe is by looking for the CE mark. This indicates that the item has been approved for the European Market. The CE mark is a requirement for many products, such as toys, medical equipment and lifts; it shows that the manufacturer has checked that the product has met EU safety, health or environmental requirements.

Keep house tidy

A tidy house is a great place to start when looking to create a safe home. When the home is a mess, there are more dangerous items around that could cause an accident. For example, make sure your floors are always dry and that puddles in the bathroom are cleaned up as this will prevent slips and falls from occurring. Also, make sure that if a glass ever gets broken that it is cleared up thoroughly and disposed of in a safe manner. Make sure everything has its place and you stay on top of the cleaning; this will result in a far safer living environment.

Tips for keeping safe at home

  • Child-proof your electric sockets
  • Don’t tempt burglars
  • Teach children about dangers
  • Secure tall bookcases and dressers to the wall
  • Keep your medication in a locked cabinet
  • Buy a lift that puts safety first
  • Install a stair gate
  • Ensure alarm systems are working
  • Have an emergency plan
  • Use the tech you already have
  • Turn on outdoor lights at night
  • Only buy CE marked toys and household appliances
  • Keep house tidy

Hopefully, the above tips will give you a good starting point for improving safety at home. With a few preventive measures, a bit of planning, and paying attention to the products you buy, you can create a home that is safe and secure for everyone.

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