Buying a house, building equity, and seeing your balance sheet grow are all fun things to do. What can often get brushed aside is turning your house into a home. Especially after children enter the scene, you need to make sure that your house is a safe place for them to live. Take some time to do a safety audit on your house, most of these fixes only cost a few dollars, and could save your lives.
Most people wouldn’t dream of having a house without smoke alarms. But too many people go without regularly testing those alarms. The batteries will last quite a while, but when they burn out you might as well not even have the alarms.
The alarms are great to warn you about the fire, but your house and home will be destroyed even with a simple oven fire if you are not prepared. Every kitchen should be equipped with a fire extinguisher that is easy to access. In fact, it is recommended that you keep one on each floor of the house.
For those who have gas furnaces, you must get a carbon monoxide detector. While smoke rises, carbon monoxide sinks. So put these detectors near the ground in case your furnace stops functioning properly.
To prevent damage to your house, make sure you check your pipes and fixtures regularly. This can be as easy as a visual inspection and the swipe of a finger. More important than damage to your house is damage to your family. Make sure to keep toddlers away from the bathroom unless monitored; they can fall into the toilet and drown easier than you would think. Also you must constantly watch them while they are in the tub too. Even turning your back for a few seconds is long enough for a tragedy to occur.
If you take the time to look around your house, you will notice hundreds of potential hazards. Electric cords and area rugs are tripping hazards. Items left on the stairway could cause a fall. There are sharp corners on most furniture, and candles, matches, and fireplaces can be a source of pain for those too small to recognize the danger. While you cannot keep a child out of everything, you can put up safety gates, keep pointed items (such as scissors and knives) in drawers and cabinets too high for your little one to reach, and make sure to get child safety locks installed on your cabinets. You would be surprised how easy a 2 year old can get the cap off a bottle of Drano.
As adults we know that the floor is not a clean place. So when we drop food or other items, we wash them before putting the back in our mouth. However, children are yet to learn this. They have no problem putting things in their mouth, even when visibly dirty. So make sure you keep your home clean and sanitized. Along those lines, make sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables to keep pathogens from coming anywhere near your family.
Living by yourself, with roommates, or with your spouse you will always want to be aware of home security. Most people would not think about living in a house without door locks, and many would install deadbolts as soon as possible if their house did not come with them. What is often overlooked is locking windows (take the screen off and the window will slide right open), gates, back doors, and garages. Taking a few minutes to make sure your house is secure is the easiest way to prevent a break-in. If you are especially concerned, you can look into wireless security systems. This is a great way to monitor your house if you are away quite a bit, and while they can be expensive you most likely will get a break on your insurance bill for having one.
Turning your house into a safe home is not hard, but most of the time things are overlooked. Every quarter, take 30 minutes to do your safety audit. An easy way to remember is every time the season changes; do your audit. You might be shocked by how many of your smoke detectors are not working, and how many other small hazards you find in your home.