Many people seem unaware that a large proportion of serious, sometimes even fatal accidents occur in people’s own homes. A home should be a safe place for our family and ourselves; a refuge where we can shut the door on all that is unpleasant in the world outside. However, while it may seem cosy curled up on our sofa, do you know how safe you really are?
Hazards from the building and its ground
The building itself can pose a major risk to your health, particularly if it is old. There are potential hazards in everything from mould and damp to faulty wiring, outdated building materials such as asbestos or even radon, an invisible, radioactive gas that can exist in the ground below your house. If you have any suspicions that your home may be at risk from any of these, ask your local council to send a building inspector to get it checked out.
Carbon monoxide is another invisible risk that most people do not detect until it is too late. The biggest cause of carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK remains gas fires and other poorly installed appliances, so if your house has gas-fired appliances, invest in a carbon monoxide alarm from your local hardware store.
When was your home built? If it was pre-1978, it is possible that the paint used on the walls contained lead or other banned substances that can be harmful to you and your family’s health. Again, a building inspector will be able to check levels of lead in your home.
Clutter can be a risk
Be careful of leaving your home cluttered and untidy. Messy homes aren’t only an eyesore; they are also a fire risk and cause accidents every year as people fall over things that someone has neglected to tidy up.
Dirt can also cause disease in the form of germs and bugs. Especially if you have pets, fleas, ticks and other parasites can be brought into your home from outside. Clutter makes it hard to clean homes properly, and dirt can linger in nooks and underneath furniture.
How to make your home safe
Don’t panic; it’s perfectly possible to make your home safe, simply with regular maintenance, cleaning and tidying up. Get into the habit of removing shoes when you enter the home to avoid treading in more dirt and bacteria from outside. Use safe and effective, environmentally-friendly and non-perfumed cleaning products to keep your home pleasant and sanitary for the whole family.
Pets can make homes harder to clean, but regular vacuuming can get rid of those annoying hairs – and tried and tested dog flea treatments can deal with the problem of fleas instantly and effectively.
Consider those at particular risk
If your children or any other family member has asthma or other allergies, it is especially important that you keep your home clean and tidy and free from dust and other substances that can trigger an attack.
Our homes should be safe zones for the whole family. Spend a little time checking yours to ensure it provides a safe, accident-free place for you to relax with your loved ones.