20+ Things You Need in Your House to Keep Your Family Safe

Is your home safe? Even if you don't have small kids roving around, it's a good idea to assess safety on the regular, and make sure that every room is prepared for the worst. With that in mind, here's a handy list you can use to examine some of the top concerns in each room of your house. (See also: 15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer)

1. Kitchen

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), cooking equipment is the cause of 40% of residential fires each year. Always keep a working smoke detector in your kitchen to alert you of fire. You can even purchase one with a photoelectric sensor that helps to reduce nuisance alarms.

You'll also want a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Never used one before? It's easy. Simply remember the acronym PASS:

  • Pull out the safety pin;
  • Aim at the source of the flames from around six feet away;
  • Squeeze the trigger; and
  • Sweep the source of the fire until your extinguisher is empty.

2. Living Room

Think there's nothing unsafe about your living room? Well if you're a television-lover, you're likely staring at the problem right now. The journal Pediatrics reports that falling TVs send children to the emergency room every half hour. And prevention is as easy as mounting your television to the wall or securing it with a brace or anti-tip strap.

Beyond that, you'll want to cover unused outlets to make them safe for tiny fingers. If you regularly need to use outlets and don't want to fuss with removable covers, try installing electrical plate covers. These guys work by automatically sliding shut when you remove a plug. You should install outlet covers in each room of your house.

3. Office

Your office might host the vast majority of your plugs and electrical equipment. You likely have a power strip in the space — but is it safe? Remember that a power strip doesn't give the room more power, it just lets you use more of the available circuit. If you rely heavily on power strips, you might consider calling an electrician to install additional outlets in the room.

Switch basic cords over to surge protectors to protect your computers, printers, and other stuff against peaks in power from turning things on/off or even large surges from lightning. While you're at it, check all power cords for damage (if you have cats, you know exactly what I mean). You can use a split wire loom to inexpensively guard your wires against bites and other damage.

4. Bathroom

To protect yourself and young children from scalding water in the bathroom, you'll need to take a trip to the basement (or wherever your water heater lives). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends turning the setting down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. It's as easy and turning a dial.

Otherwise, keep any electrical items — like hairdryers, shavers, curling irons, etc. — away from water and unplugged when not in use. Place an anti-slip bath mat inside your tub to safeguard the whole family against falls. You may even want to install a bath shower handle for extra protection and stability.

And keep mold at bay by putting in a bathroom fan.

5. Bedroom

The United States Fire Administration reports that more than 3,500 Americans die each year in residential fires. Another 18,300 are injured in fires. While you should have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor, make sure you pay special attention to placing them near bedrooms. And check their batteries often.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) explains that fire can spread rapidly in your home. You may have as little as one or two minutes to escape in an emergency. Consider purchasing a fire escape ladder to keep in your bedroom and plan your escape routes accordingly.

The bedroom area also contains large dressers and other pieces of furniture. Protect little ones by installing anti-tip brackets. They're detachable to make cleaning a breeze but secure furniture firmly against a wall. To understand the real need for brackets, check out this PSA video made by the CPSC.

6. Basement

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers across the United States. Did you know that most radon-induced lung cancers result from only low to medium exposure in the home, usually in the basement? Your house may have been tested before you bought it. If not, hire an inspector and — if your levels are high — have a radon mitigation system installed.

It might cost you a couple grand, but it's worth every penny if it saves your health.

7. Stairway

Researchers estimate that a child falls down the stairs every six minutes in the United States. Whether you have kids or animals running around your home, a stairway gate is an excellent way to keep them safe. They come in a wide variety of shapes, materials, and colors to match your preferences and decor.

8. Garage

Car exhaust is a major source of carbon monoxide, so never run your car inside your garage — especially if the door is closed. You might have several flammable materials sitting around too. The fire safety rules you use indoors apply to the garage as well. Keep fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in this area, and follow all other precautions.

And now is a great time to ensure your safety sensors are working on your garage door. If not, you can purchase replacements or chat with the company that installed your door.

9. Outdoors

Examine your deck each season to check for loose railings, rotting wood, and other defects. A mesh railnet can help prevent railing and balcony accidents by blocking access to any gaps your kids or animals might find. Those of you with multileveled decks and staircases can also install outdoor safety gates.

If you have a pool, you may be familiar with safety measures to prevent drowning while you're swimming. What about when you're not going for a dip? The CDC estimates that more than half of the drowning deaths among young kids could have been prevented by simple pool fencing. Keep your pool off limits when not in use. Fencing should be at least four feet tall to be the most effective.

What essential safety steps have you take in your home?

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