New Year Essentials: Time for a Home Safety Check!

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When is the last time you did a home safety check?

 

As we’re ringing in the New Year and brainstorming resolutions, goals, and intentions, it’s important that one of those items is completing a new home safety checklist. As our kids grow each year, their hazards change, so it’s important to keep our environment up to date. If you’re a part of the sandwich generation, your home safety checklist should also include fall hazards to keep our parents and grandparents safe in their homes. Cold winter days are a perfect time to tackle this task, and you can involve your kids in the problem-solving process. Let me take you through some important tips and resources to help get you started!

 

a partially open medicine cabinet with a child safety lock

 

Bathroom

  1. Check water temperature settings
  2. Replace mats that have lost their non-slip surface or add a new one to the bottoms
  3. Install a grab bar in the showers that are used by older people
  4. Make sure any medications are still out of reach if your children have gotten taller

 

Bedroom

  1. Go through toy boxes and remove broken toys or loose, small parts
  2. If you’ve had another baby this year, make sure your older child’s items don’t have small parts accessible to your baby
  3. Make sure lamps are within reach and pathways to the bathroom have nightlights

 

a baby gate at the bottom of stairs

 

Stairs and Windows

  1. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs; attach to the wall if possible
  2. Make sure lighting in stairways is bright and change bulbs if needed
  3. Fix any broken or uneven stairs, make sure carpeted stairs are not loose or torn
  4. Make sure handrails are present and not loose or broken
  5. Install and use window guards

 

Kitchen

  1. Move the most used cooking items to reachable cabinets to avoid using step stools
  2. Make sure any kitchen sink mat is non-slip
  3. Store any household cleaners out of reach and sight with a child lock

 

a baby chewing on a cord plugged into a wall

 

Living Room

  1. Mount flat-panel TVs to the wall, box TVs on a low, stable surface
  2. Top heavy furniture and unstable furniture should be secured with brackets, braces, or wall straps
  3. Keep cords out of walkways and out of children’s reach, including window blinds

 

Full House

  1. Check hallways and room entrances to make sure paths are clear
  2. Check non-slip surfaces of throw rugs; add a non-slip mat to the bottom if missing
  3. Check if any outlet covers or cabinet locks need replacing

 

a woman changing the battery in a fire alarm

 

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety

  1. Check alarms to ensure they are working, and test batteries monthly
  2. Practice your fire escape plan or make a new one if you’ve moved this year

 

Entrances and Garage

  1. Make sure entrances to the house are free from obstacles
  2. Handrails should be in place and checked to make sure they are not loose
  3. Get ready for spring weather by replacing any safety equipment your kids have outgrown, such as helmets or life jackets
  4. Each child needs to have their own equipment that is sized specifically for them

 

Once you’ve completed your checklist, it’s time to make your “honey-do” list. Rank the items you identified as issues in order from easiest to hardest to change. We are all motivated by success (even tiny wins), so by completing an easy task first, it gives us encouragement to keep tackling the hard ones. Ask your partner, family, friends, or neighbors to help you with items too challenging to complete alone. Involve your kids when appropriate to assist you in completing small tasks to help them understand the importance of safety. Here are the checklists for kids and seniors I use:

 

https://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/documents/home_safety_checklist.pdf 

https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/11679/cdc_11579_DS1.pdf?download-document-submit=Download

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Haley was born and raised in small town Kansas. She moved to St. Louis after graduating from the University of Kansas to attend graduate school at Lindenwood. Her 2 year plan to live in St. Louis turned in 12 when she met her husband. They were married on home plate at Busch Stadium in 2015 and are parents to two girls, Presley (4) and Piper (7 months), Haley stared her career as a Certified Athletic Trainer working at high schools all throughout St. Louis. After returning to nursing school she was a Trauma ICU nurse for 5 years before taking on her current role as the Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator at a Level 1 Trauma Center. Outside of work Haley blogs about local food and businesses as part of the Yelp Elite Squad, volunteers for Make-A-Wish MoKan, and loves strength training and self care. Haley considers herself a “wrangler of tiny females”. She loves raising a strong willed preschooler who both challenges and amazes her. Haley loves living in St. Louis and feels it has so much to offer to inspire children and foster creativity. You can follow her at @mamastrebs.

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