Since we’re all spending more time in the comfort of home, we know how important it is to have the safest space possible. Even as we start to get back to our normal routines, it’s the perfect time to make sure our homes have the most up-to-date safety precautions.
We’ve put together a room-by-room checklist of common safety tips, cleaning recommendations, and hazards you can easily avoid. No need to feel overwhelmed — just take it one day (and one room) at a time. Ready, set, safety proof!
- Cover unused electrical outlets — including power strips — with protective devices.
- Anchor bookcases, TV stands, and freestanding shelves to the wall with furniture brackets so they won’t topple.
- Sharpen knives and store them safely.
- Cap your hot water tank temp at 120 °F and keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Post the numbers for the Poison Control Center (800.222.1222), local fire department, EMS, and your family physicians near the phone.
- Store potholders, dish towels, and other flammable objects away from the stove.
- Keep household cleaning products and other poisonous substances in their original containers and in a cabinet with a safety latch or lock.
- Secure area rug corners with double-sided tape (they can be a trip hazard).
- Have wood-burning fireplaces inspected to ensure they’re in good working condition.
- Keep cords and cables tied up and off the floor.
- Make sure stairways are well lit.
- Follow this rule: One handrail is good, but two handrails are better.
- Have a handrail running the entire length of the stairs, if possible. It’s wide enough for your kids to hold easily and fully.
- Tack down rugs or runners, or put slip-resistant mats under them.
- Keep the floor clutter free.
- Make sure windows are easily accessible in case there’s a fire. Also, identify the emergency escape windows and ensure they’re easy for every family member to open.
- Put an emergency escape ladder near each upper level escape window.
- Minimize slipping with bathmats and floor grips in the tub and shower.
- Unplug appliances and make sure they’re out of reach from little ones.
- Adjust the water heater to 120 °F or lower to prevent scalding.
- Store all medicines, vitamins, mouthwashes, and perfumes in their original containers.
Cleaning and disinfecting your home
Due to COVID-19, we’re hyper focused on personal safety and hygiene — especially if a loved one is sick or has been exposed. Here are the most updated sanitizing tips and safety guidelines from the CDC.
- Wear reusable or disposable gloves whenever you clean or disinfect your home.
- Clean surfaces with soap and water, then use disinfectant. Make sure the area you’re cleaning is well ventilated.
- Make sure to clean touched surfaces frequently, including: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- When doing laundry, use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely. When handling laundry from a person who is sick, be sure to wear disposable gloves. (Their laundry can still be washed with the rest of your family’s.)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Always wash them immediately after removing gloves or after contact with a person who is sick.
- Keep household cleaners and hand sanitizers out of reach from children.
P.S. Need to make your own bleach solution? Combine 5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 tablespoons bleach per quart of water. This solution will last for 24 hours. For more cleaning and disinfecting tips from the CDC, click here.