PROPERTY NEWS - Being safe at home is very important to most people, as indicated by the proliferation of spiked fences and gates, burglar proofing and alarm systems throughout our suburbs.
But as parents know, home safety goes further than that: potentially poisonous substances such as medicines, cleaning materials and pesticides must always be kept locked safely away from curious little hands, and pools and ponds need to be securely fenced and covered.
"And with the school holiday starting and families due to spend more time in their homes, now might be a good time for owners to tackle any other possible dangers too," says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group.
Tips for eliminating other common home injuries
- Falls are the most common cause of injuries at home, and most often occur on wet tile or hardwood floors, on stairs or due to a trip hazard. So put a mat or towel down at the poolside or at the door where children usually enter the house with wet feet. Install grab bars in showers and over baths and make sure you use absorbent bathmats to prevent slips. Make sure there are no trailing extension cords or toys lying around, and fit safety gates and sturdy handrails to all stairways. Invest in a proper step-stool to reach high storage spaces in kitchens and elsewhere.
- To prevent burns, always wear oven gloves when taking things out of the oven or off the braai. Never, ever leave a lit candle unattended, and take great care when starting a braai fire. Ensure that children and adults who are outside or swimming always wear sunscreen and re-apply it often. For safety's sake, you should have at least one fire extinguisher in your home and check it annually to make sure it is in working order.
- Choking is a real danger if you have small children who are liable to put things in their mouths, so you should keep festive nuts and hard sweets out of their reach. Year round, you need to check toys regularly for loose parts and always cut up food for children under four. It is also a really good idea for all adults in the home to learn the Heimlich first-aid procedure as well as CPR.
- Cuts and wounds don't only happen when you're preparing food, although knives, graters and peelers should of course be kept out of reach of young children. Opened cans and lids in waste bins can also be dangerous, as can razors in bathrooms, nail and sewing scissors and sharp garden tools like spades and shears. You should especially follow all safety precautions when using lawnmowers, weed-eaters and power tools, and never leave them unattended around children.
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