A Room-by-Room Guide to Making Your Home Safer

How to prevent the leading causes of home injuries, from slips and falls to smoke and fires.

By Jennifer Jafarzadeh
Interior of a dollhouseDavid Buttigieg

Bedroom

Fire

  • Since smoke can further hinder visibility, keep a rechargeable flashlight plugged in by your bedside to light your way or to signal firefighters.
  • Place space heaters at least one yard from anything flammable. Turn them off when you're not in the room.
  • If you live in a two-story dwelling, a rescue ladder that can attach to your windowsill adds another escape route during a fire. Try the Kidde Fire Ladder, $60, smokesign.com.
  • Make sure security bars on windows have quick-release mechanisms.


Childproofing
 

  • Install window guards. They aren't a substitute for parental supervision, but they do provide reassurance.
  • Check the crib. Make sure it meets safety standards. (Request a list of recalled products from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at cpsc.gov.) Keep cords away from the crib. Keep the crib away from windows, if possible.


Bathroom

Slips, Trips, Falls
 

  • For extra support getting in and out of a slippery shower, attach a grab bar to your shower wall (you’ll find a variety on lowes.com), installing it into studs.
  • If your tub has a slippery bottom, add nonskid decals (walmart.com carries a number of them). Make sure your bath mats are nonslip, with rubber backings.
  • If standing in the shower is difficult, use a handheld shower and a shower seat (adjustable tub and shower chair by Home Care by Moen, $64, lowes.com for stores) to prevent injuries.


Shocks
 

  • Keep portable heaters out of the bathroom. Water and electricity don't mix.
  • Disconnect appliances like hair dryers and curling irons after use, and stow them away only when they're cool.


Childproofing

 

  • Always supervise young children in the bath.
  • Consider purchasing toilet locks if you have small children. You’ll find the Safety 1st cover clamp toilet lock ($6) at most hardware stores.


Kitchen

Fire
 

  • Don't leave pots unattended on the stovetop.
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans inward so you'll be less likely to knock simmering food off the stove.
  • Keep a lid close to the stove to snuff out cooking fires. Don't use water, which can spread burning grease around the kitchen.
  • Keep pot holders, towels, and other flammable items away from burners.
  • Use only dry oven mitts―wet ones are a scalding danger.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed. If there's a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave.


Childproofing
 

  • Attach safety latches to drawers containing knives, scissors, and sharp utensils (Safety 1st cabinet and drawer latches, $3, available at most hardware stores).
  • Use appliance knob covers to keep kids from turning on stove burners.
  • Install a safety cover on your garbage disposal to protect kids' hands, such as the Plumb Pak strainer guard for garbage disposal ($3, lowes.com).
 
Read More About:Home & Organizing

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