We either buy or build a home in order to raise a family in a safe and secure environment. The minute some harm ensues, we can only wish we had done something different to have prevented the mishap. The age-old principle of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure becomes literal with your home and your family’s welfare. With some simple child-, fire-, and burglar -proofing, your house can remain your haven for a long time.
Childproofing Your Home
With crime on the rise, most parents become concerned about their child’s safety and will never cease trying to protect their children. However, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 2 million youngsters become seriously injured or killed by hazards in their own home. Childproofing your home should be just as significant as any other precaution you take to protect your family.
Install doorknob covers to keep children from leaving the house or opening the doors to rooms that are not childproofed, such as utility rooms and closets where hazards might exists. Change lever handles to rounded doorknobs in order to use these doorknob covers. You can also use safety gates to keep children out of rooms while giving you visible access to their roaming.
Protect electrical outlets with plastic insert or exterior outlet covers to insure that your child doesn’t poke or prod fingers or objects into outlets. Or, install electrical outlets with safety latches, which provide a shield with no removable pieces for your child to choke on.
Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit so that your child (ren) does not become burned. Or, install a tankless water heater with an on/off switch well out of reach of a child. These units heat water on demand and can only be turned on when you decide.
Fireproofing Your Home
According to the International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (2003), the U.S. mortality rate ranks an incredible sixth place among other 25 developed countries. Furthermore, in 2005 the Center for Disease Control & Prevention said death from fires is the fifth common cause of unintentional injury deaths in the U.S. Although a foolproof house is next to impossible, fireproofing your home and formulating a plan against possible fires could save your family.
- Since the middle 1970s, campaigns for smoke alarms started getting people aware of the dangers of house fires, with some companies distributing them for free. The message is the same today: Install smoke alarms in all rooms in the house. These low-cost gadgets save thousands of lives per year, with only 20% of deaths by fire transpiring in homes with smoke alarms.
- Place fire extinguishers on all floor levels and near the furnace and hot water heater. Make sure they are strapped to the wall out of reach of small children and checked seasonally for leaks.
- Clean up foliage, grass, leaves, and loose mulch around the foundation of your house, as these materials make the best of kindling on a dry fall or summer day.
Burglarproofing Your Home
- In the U.S., there is one house break-in every 15 seconds with more than 6 million homes becoming burglarized every year. What is keeping a burglar from choosing your house as the next robbery site? Here are several tips to make sure your house is, at least, inattentive to would-be burglars.
- Call the light company or city department if streetlights are not working properly. Lights discourage burglars from perpetrating your property. Oftentimes, days before a robbery, burglars will destroy streetlights in order to remain better hidden.
- Store ladders and other yard tools in a secure tool shed or garage. These make it all the easier for cat burglars to open or unlock second-story windows. Recommend fellow neighbors to do the same.
- Put lights and other electrical furnishings—TVs, DVD players, radios, etcetera—on timers even if you’re only going to dinner for a few hours.
- Invest in a home security system. Or, if you don’t have the money for installation, put home security stickers on the windows and doors. (You can even install fake security cameras with automatic light sensors too!)
- Keep valuables such as family heirlooms and expensive jewelry in a safety deposit box. If you must have your precious stones in the house, have two jewelry boxes—one as a decoy and another hidden behind a dresser drawer or other secret place.
- Don’t throw away information with your financial situations in the trash, but use a shredder and throw away such items at work dumpsters or other trash receptacles.