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Making the Home Environment Safe

What is involved in making the home environment safe?

When caring at home for an ill, aging, or disabled person of any age, it's important to think about home safety. The following checklist may be printed and used for home inspection.

Upstairs

__ Install a smoke detector in the hallway outside of bedrooms. Check and change batteries regularly.

__ Place a nonskid bath mat on the floor and a nonskid mat in the tub.

__ Store all prescription and over-the-counter medicines in original containers and in a safe place.

__ Use paper cups in the bathroom to prevent spreading germs.

__ To prevent scalding, make sure the tap water temperature is set no higher than 120°F (48.8°C).

__ Be sure you can move safely in the bathroom and in and out of the tub or shower.

__ Mount grab bars at the toilet, bath, and shower on walls with secure reinforcements.

__ Both sides of the steps should have handrails.

__ Make sure lighting in hallways and on stairs is adequate.

__ Place a lamp and telephone near the bed.

__Remove or nail down rugs or carpeting to reduce the risk of falls.

Downstairs

__ Store all cleaning supplies in their original containers.

__ Always turn pot handles inward when cooking on the stove. This can help prevent spills. Use back burners whenever possible.

__ Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

__ Secure area rugs to prevent falls and slips.

__ Make sure furniture is securely placed and in good repair.

__ Install light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Outdoors

__ Keep stairs and walkways clear of snow, wet leaves, or other debris.

__ Repair cracks or chips in cement sidewalks and stairs.

__ Make certain railings, gates, and fences are secure and in good repair.

__ Place barriers around a fireplace, wood burning stove, or other heat source. This can help prevent accidental burns.

__ Have chimneys and stovepipes inspected and cleaned regularly.

__ Make sure that hazardous items are secured and in their original containers in the garage, utility room, or basement. This includes items such as bug sprays, cleaners, auto care products, and weed killers.

Further precautions

__ Enter emergency numbers into your cell phone. Also write emergency numbers in large print and post them on the refrigerator and near the land line phone.

__ Make sure that bathrooms and bedrooms can be unlocked from the outside.

__ Keep matches and lighters out of reach.

__ Make sure the home has at least 2 unblocked exits in case of fire or other emergency.

__ Check all electrical cords to make sure they are not cracked or frayed.

__ Make sure outlets or extension cords are not overloaded.

__ Don't use space heaters. If they are used, make sure they are in safe condition. Never plug them into an extension cord. Don't place them near drapes or furnishings.

__Know where the gas, electricity, and water cut-off valves are located in the home in case of emergency.

Online Medical Reviewer: Buslovich, Steven, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Taylor, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2017
© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.