In a world dominated by news reports of disastrous natural events, home invasions, accidental injuries, pet theft, and even online dangers, it’s more important than ever to make sure your family is safe at home.
Your children and spouse are undoubtedly the most important things in your life after all, and you’ll want to protect them at all costs. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to keeping your family safe at home.
Below, you’ll find loads of information on how to protect your family from any of the dangers they might be exposed to and dramatically reduce the risk of anything happening to them at home.
We’ll also look at how to keep your property protected when you’re away.
Why A Safe Home Makes Life Easier
Before we start looking at how to make your home a safer place for you and your family to live in, let’s take a look at why a safe home makes life easier.
We’re all becoming increasingly busier. And, as our families continue to grow in size and our children start becoming more inquisitive than ever, it’s easy to get distracted by something else.
Factor in working from home or juggling household chores along with childcare and, eventually, something is going to go wrong!
By putting certain safety measures in place, it’s much harder for children to put themselves into a situation where they could potentially cause themselves harm when you’re not able to give them your undivided attention.
There’s more to keeping your family safe at home than just protecting children from physical harm, though. There are many dangers involved with children going online without any protective measures in place.
However, once parental controls have been installed, you can rest assured that your children can surf the web in safety.
You also need to think about keeping your family safe at home when the night falls, too. When everybody is safely tucked up in bed, there is a chance that somebody might try and break into your home.
The thought of this is enough to keep you awake at night as it is, but when you factor in the harm that a potential intruder might cause to your family, the nightmare becomes even worse.
But, put certain safeguards in place and you and your family will be able to sleep easy, safe in the knowledge that there’s no chance anybody will be able to break in.
To put things into the simplest possible terms, putting safety measures in place in and around your home will make life easier and they’ll actually let you live your life.
That fear in the back of your mind that something could go wrong will be eliminated and you’ll be able to spend quality time with your family at home without any safety worries.
Baby Proofing the Home
We know how important it is to keep children safe within the home, and one of the best ways to do this is by baby proofing.
The term ‘baby proofing’ can be quite misleading though, and it’s easy to assume it only refers to protecting a baby from certain dangers. This isn’t necessarily the case.
When your baby moves to their toddler years, finds their feet, and really starts exploring the home, the potential for accidents increases massively. So, to prevent any harm from coming to them, “baby-proofing” your home is essential.
Below, we’ll look at three of the most effective ways to baby-proof the home and protect your children from getting hurt.
Installing baby gates in certain areas of the home is a guaranteed way to keep young children safe.
As they learn to walk, they’ll soon discover new rooms that are filled with irresistibly tempting items that are just calling out to be touched!
But, these items aren’t always safe and, in the wrong hands, an accidental drop of a breakable object could result in shattered glass.
This can cause really bad cuts on your child’s hands and there’s even the possibility that they may walk through it or fall into it as a part of the shock.
This is obviously something that you want to avoid and by placing baby gates into the doorways of certain rooms, you’ll be able to keep inquisitive little fingers out of harm’s way!
Baby gates are also extremely important if your home has stairs in it. Placing one baby gate at the bottom of the staircase and one at the top dramatically reduces the risk of your child falling down them.
It’s also always better to install baby gates that screw into the wall when you’re fencing off stairs rather than pressure gates. By doing this, you’re reducing the risk of them coming loose if your child falls against them.
This is especially important during the night. If your child tends to leave their bedroom in the early hours of the morning, installing a baby gate can prevent them from attempting the stairs by themselves and getting into an accident in the process.
In this circumstance, you might also want to think about installing a baby gate in the doorway of their bedroom, so they can’t wander outside of the room if they do wake up.
Door and Drawer Locks
There will undoubtedly be a time when you and your child need to be in a room that you’ve sealed off with baby gates.
And, as with all things in life, distractions may get in the way and you may not be able to keep as close an eye on them as you’d like.
In these situations, it’s a good idea to have door and drawer locks installed on any cabinets, chests, or any other piece of furniture that contains potentially dangerous items.
These items might include knives, medicine, glassware, cleaning chemicals, and more. Door and drawer locks are really easy to install and in some cases feature a strong adhesive backing, so you don’t have to worry about drilling into the furniture when you’re fitting them.
Most importantly, however, they’ll keep your child out of the drawers and cabinets but will still allow you access when you need it.
Chests and other pieces of furniture that have drawers should also be securely attached to a wall using a special anchor kit. This is because it can be really tempting for a young child to use the drawers as steps to get to the top.
However, as soon as their weight is on it, the risk of the furniture toppling over on top of them is significantly increased. This can lead to serious injuries and, in some cases, even fatalities.
So, to stop this unthinkable nightmare from happening to your child, make sure you’ve secured anything with drawers to a wall.
Electrical Outlet Covers
If there are any unused electrical outlets in your home, make sure you cover them with an electrical outlet cover. This removes the risk of your child putting their fingers or a metal object into the socket and potentially receiving an electrical shock from it.
Electrical outlet covers that feature a safety latch are the best type to go for here, as they are much harder for a child to remove than their simple plug-in alternatives.
It’s also worth tidying up any electrical cords and concealing them in a cord-hiding device. This will keep them all grouped together and stop them from being touched or picked up and put into curious mouths!
Other Areas To Baby Proof
While the three baby-proofing areas listed above are the most essential for keeping your child as safe as possible inside the home, there are a few others that are useful for ensuring their safety even more.
These include the following:
- Corner & Edge Guards: These can be placed on the edges and sharp corners of furniture, such as coffee tables. This stops any serious injuries from occurring if your child accidentally bumps into them.
- Non-Slip Rug Pads: Placing these underneath any rugs you have in your home will keep them in place and prevent the edges from curling up. This makes it much harder for your child to trip up on them.
- Fireplace Grille: Get a fireplace grill that surrounds the entire fireplace. This won’t only prevent any accidental burns when you’re using the fire but prevents any accidents that might come from tripping and falling on the hearth when you’re not.
- Colorful Stickers: Placing several colorful stickers on glass doors makes it more obvious that it’s not an open doorway. This prevents your child from running into a closed glass door and injuring themselves.
It’s not only your children that need to be protected when you’re at home. Dogs, cats, and all other pets are a part of the family, and they need to be kept safe from harm as well.
But, like children, we can’t keep an eye on them all time. This is why installing a pet camera is a good idea. These will allow you to check-in and take a look at what your pet is up to when you’re away from home.
Some have built-in speakers that allow you to talk to your pet when you’re not at home, so if they are misbehaving you’ll be able to tell them off!
You can even get pet cameras that feature treat dispensers that are activated through your smartphone, which means you can reward them with a snack if they are behaving.
But how can a pet camera help to keep your pet safe when you’re at home? Perhaps you’re upstairs bathing your children, and you want to check in on what your pet is up to downstairs.
You can’t leave the children unattended, but a pet camera will allow you to see what’s happening downstairs without having to leave the bathroom.
In this circumstance, if you notice your pet is getting themselves into a potentially dangerous situation, you’ll be able to stop them by speaking to them through the camera.
Likewise, you can distract them by offering them a snack from the magical treat-dispensing device! This is guaranteed to focus their attention elsewhere.
Fire Safety – Adding Extinguishers Around the Home
A recent study has shown that, in the United States, a home catches fire approximately every 88 seconds. There are loads of things that can lead to fire including faulty electrical wiring, cooking appliances, heating, and smoking.
But, while most fires can be prevented through proper care and attention, it’s always worth adding fire extinguishers throughout your home so that you can quickly and safely extinguish a fire if one were to break out.
One thing you might not know, however, is that there is more to fire extinguishers than meets the eye. Sure, they are all designed with the same purpose in mind.
But there are different types of fire extinguishers that are designed to put out different fires. Use the wrong one, and you could end up making the fire much worse.
Before you start thinking about what fire extinguishers you need in your home, you need to look at the type of fire that could potentially break out. In the United States, different types of fire fall into one of five different categories:
- Class A Fire: Wood, paper, cloth, trash, plastics, and other combustible materials.
- Class B Fire: Flammable liquids (excluding cooking oils and grease), gasolene, petroleum, paint, propane, and butane.
- Class C Fire: Electrical equipment including appliances, transformers, and motors.
- Class D Fire: Combustible metals including titanium, magnesium, aluminum, sodium, and potassium.
- Class K Fire: Animal fats, vegetable fats, cooking oils, grease, and other food preparation liquids.
As you can see, there are lots of things that you may have around the home that could cause any of these fire classifications from starting. So, it’s important to make sure that you have a fire extinguisher that is capable of putting any of them out.
Types of Fire Extinguisher
There are a total of 8 different types of fire extinguishers to choose from. The likelihood of being able to store one of each type in your home is quite small though, so, to make things easier, we’ll take a look at each of them below in a little more detail.
This will allow you to determine exactly what type of fire extinguisher would be best for your home and, ultimately, will keep you and your family safe.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2): This type of fire extinguisher is best suited for Class B and Class C fires. They work by removing the oxygen from the fire and starving it of its fuel. Carbon dioxide doesn’t conduct electricity, so it’s particularly well-suited for extinguishing electrical fires.
- Water & Foam: These extinguishers use a foaming agent to remove the heat from the flame and starve the fire of oxygen. A water and foam extinguisher is best suited for Class A fires only. This is because they contain water that could cause flammable liquids (Class B) to spread further, or increase the shock hazard from electrical fires (Class C).
- Dry Chemical: These are the usual go-to choice for home fires as they are best suited for extinguishing Class A, B, and C fires. They work by covering the fire with a thin layer of dust, separating it from the oxygen in the room, and starving it. They also interrupt the chemical reaction of a fire, which means they are extremely effective at extinguishing them quickly.
- Wet Chemical: This type of fire extinguisher works by removing the fire’s heat and creating a barrier between the oxygen and the fuel. These are most effective for extinguishing Class A and Class K fires.
- Clean Agent / Halogenated: These also deprive the fire of heat and, unlike most extinguishers, they leave no residue behind so they are ideal for use in a situation where expensive equipment is at risk of being damaged by another extinguishing agent. These are mostly used for Class B and Class C fires, but some larger clean agent extinguishers can also be used on Class A fires.
- Dry Powder: These work a lot like dry chemical extinguishers and starve the fire of oxygen while removing the heat. However, they are only suitable for use on Class D fires that consist of combustible metals.
- Water Mist: This type of fire extinguisher works by breaking water into minuscule droplets to remove the fire’s heat. They are usually used solely for Class A fires, however, some can be used for Class C fires since the water droplets are so small they are unable to conduct electricity.
- Cartridge-Operated Dry Chemical: This is a multipurpose fire extinguisher that can be used on Class A, B, and C fires. They work by creating a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen to put the fire out quickly.
A fire extinguisher that has been made for use in the home will carry a “UL rating”. This is a series of numbers and letters that indicate which class of fire the extinguisher can fight, along with how much of its extinguishing agent it contains.
These can be a little difficult to figure out, especially if you’ve never purchased a fire extinguisher before. So, to make things easier, we’ll try and put it into the simplest terms possible.
The letter on the fire extinguisher refers to the fire class. So, for example, a “1A” fire extinguisher is suitable for Class A fires. Likewise, a “5B” fire extinguisher is suitable for Class B fires, and so on.
But what about the number that precedes the letter? This refers to the amount of extinguishing agent the fire extinguisher contains.
So, using a “1A” fire extinguisher as an example, this shows us that the extinguisher contains 1-gallon of water and that it’s safe to use on Class A fires. Whereas a “2A” extinguisher contains 2-gallons of water.
If it’s a multipurpose extinguisher, such as a dry chemical extinguisher, there will be more than one number and letter formation displayed on it.
In this case, the “A” number follows the same principle as above, with a “3A” UL rating means that it is suitable for Class A fires and contains 3-gallons of extinguishing agent.
The number that precedes the “B” is slightly different, though. With a “B” UL rating, the number refers to the square footage that the extinguisher can put out when you’re dealing with a Class B fire.
So, if it says “40B”, it will be able to extinguish 40 square feet of Class B fire.
Finally, you may notice that the fire extinguisher has a “C” UL rating, but this isn’t preceded by a number. This is because while it may be safe to use on an electrical fire, an electrical fire ultimately burns other materials.
It’s these materials that the extinguisher puts out, and there is no real measure for how many that may be.
So, from the above information, we can tell that a fire extinguisher with a UL rating of “3A:40B:C” contains 3-gallons of extinguishing agent for use on Class A fires, can put out up to 40 square feet of Class B fires and is suitable for use on Class C fires as well.
Fire Extinguisher Placement
Once you’ve decided which fire extinguisher best suits your home, you need to think about where you’re going to place it. It’s a good idea to keep one in your kitchen, as this is where a fire is most likely to break out within a home.
It’s also worth adding one to each floor of your home so that, in the event of a fire breaking out overnight, you’re able to head downstairs and tackle it without the fire itself preventing you from being able to reach the extinguisher.
Of course, you know your home better than anybody. But, by keeping a fire extinguisher on each floor and in locations where a fire is most likely to break out, you’re drastically reducing the chances of a small fire becoming a bigger issue.
And, ultimately, you’ll be keeping your family safe when you’re at home.
Investing in Carbon Monoxide Alarms
You’ll undoubtedly be aware of how important it is to have a functioning smoke alarm in your home. But are you aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Sadly, there are around 1,200 deaths each year and 50,000 visits to the emergency room as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Perhaps the most dangerous thing about carbon monoxide is that it is odorless and colorless. So, unlike smoke coming from a fire, you aren’t even aware you’re breathing it in.
Our red blood cells also pick up carbon monoxide (CO) faster than they pick up oxygen which means that, when we inhale it, it replaces the oxygen in our blood.
Carbon monoxide inhalation is almost always accidental, and it’s usually caused by the improper burning of certain fuels, such as coal, gas, oil, and wood. However, it can also be leaked into the home through a fault with any of the below appliances:
- Gas Fires
- Gas or Kerosene Heaters
- Water Heaters
- Charcoal Grills
- Wood Stoves
- Gas Cooking Stoves
The best and easiest way to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning is to invest in a carbon monoxide alarm. These work in the same way as smoke alarms and will alert you to a carbon monoxide leak.
This gives you the opportunity to leave your home and alert the emergency services before it’s too late. Since carbon monoxide, otherwise known as “the silent killer”, is colorless and odorless, it’s also capable of poisoning you while you’re sleeping.
But, by installing a carbon monoxide alarm you’ll be alerted if there is a carbon monoxide leak during the night and you’ll be able to get to safety.
10 Simple Steps to Making the Home More Secure
Babyproofing your home and installing fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarms are all essential for keeping your family safe at home. But these are really just the tip of the safety-iceberg.
There are many other threats to your family’s safety that can come from inside the home as well as outside. So, to keep your family as safe as possible at home, take a look at these 10 simple steps to making your home more secure.
Secure the Door
This pretty much goes without saying, but one of the best ways to keep your family safe at home is to secure the door.
Before you head upstairs to bed in the evening, take a moment to make sure that the front door, back door, and any other door that allows access to your home from the outside is fully locked.
It’s also a good idea to keep your doors locked when you’re all inside the home and nobody is planning on going anywhere. Deadlocks are the best choice here, but the more locks you can fit to your door the better really.
There are other ways you can secure your doors without solely relying on locks, too. If you have glass doors, reinforce them with a security window film. This will prevent a potential intruder from being able to smash the glass and open the door.
You can also fit a wooden or metal bar in the bottom track of sliding doors to stop anybody from being able to force the door open.
It’s also really important to teach your children not to answer the door to anybody. Oftentimes, an intruder will ring the doorbell first to see if anybody is at home. If your child answers the door, they are being put in great danger.
And, if you’re unaware of the conversation taking place, they could be feeding the intruder with vital security information that they can use to break in successfully in the future.
Lock the Windows
As with all external doors, it’s also important to make sure that you’ve locked all of your windows before you go to bed in the evening.
They should also be kept locked when they aren’t in use.
If you don’t have lockable windows, we would highly recommend getting some fitted.
However, if that’s not in your budget, there are some other things you can do. You can use a wooden or metal bar to stop sliding windows from being forced open, as well as a reinforced security window film to stop them from getting smashed.
You can also use roller shutters and security screens to add another dimension of security to your windows, making it much harder for anybody to get close enough to the glass to be able to smash through it.
Light up the Landscape
If anyone trying to get into your home thinks they are at risk of being seen, it’s highly likely that they’ll abandon their break-in attempt.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to install lighting around the perimeter of your home.
Focus on the areas that an intruder might try and get in from. This includes doors, windows, your back garden, and your driveway.
It might sound counterintuitive to light up your property in order to avoid a home invasion, but the more visible your home is the more visible anybody trying to get into it will be as well.
Your lighting doesn’t necessarily have to be permanently on, though. You can install motion-activated lights that will illuminate your home when they sense somebody is moving around the outside of your property.
This is a really good way of keeping your energy bills down while still being able to keep your family safe at home.
Ensure the Garage is Locked
We’ve talked about the importance of keeping your doors and windows locked, but it’s equally as important to make sure your garage is locked when it’s not in use.
An intruder isn’t only given another access point into your home through the garage, but they are also given the opportunity to steal anything that you’re storing inside it.
This could be your car, your family’s bikes, expensive DIY tools, and anything else that you want to keep safe.
Set up a Security System
Setting up a security system is a highly-effective way to prevent anybody from trying to enter your home.
You don’t necessarily have to be away from home for it to work either, and it can be just as effective at deterring intruders when you’re safely tucked up in bed at night as it is when you’re on vacation.
There are several types of security systems to choose from, but the most effective is an alarm system. As its name suggests, this works by sounding a loud alarm once the system has been triggered.
This will usually be due to the fact that the intruder isn’t aware of the passcode that’s needed to stop the alarm from going off.
The reason this is such a good choice is that the loud alarm alerts your neighbors to a break-in, too. So, even if you’re at home and somebody has gained access to your property, somebody else will be able to alert the authorities on your behalf.
There are three basic principles to keep in mind when you’re setting up a security system:
- Prevention: The best way to stop a home invasion is to put a preventative measure in place. A large, obvious alarm on the outside of your home is almost guaranteed to make a burglar think twice before they try to break-in.
- Friction: If they do decide to break-in, there needs to be a deterrent that creates friction and sends them running. In this case, it would be a loud alarm.
- Reaction: If they aren’t deterred by the alarm, you should have a contingency plan to alert the emergency services. Again, in this case, this would be your neighbors being alerted by the alarm and calling the police on your behalf.
Secure your Wi-Fi Network
We live in a world of modern technology and, as such, it’s not just your physical items that somebody might want to try and steal from you.
And, if successful, this means that credit cards, loans, utility bills, and all manner of other things could be set up in your name.
Getting access to your personal information is much easier if your Wi-Fi network is unsecured and a cyber-criminal will be able to hack into your emails and stored files as easily as you can access them.
In some cases, they could even conduct illegal activities using your internet connection.
This means that if they were to order anything using a stolen credit card, for example, the IP address the purchase was made from would link straight back to you and it’s your door that the police will be knocking on!
So, how do you stop this from happening? The answer is simple – secure your Wi-Fi network! If you’re not sure how to do this, take a look at some of the suggestions below:
- Put a passkey on your wireless connection. You can do this on the access point and your computer so they can talk to each other and nobody else can connect to the Wi-Fi without the passkey.
- Make sure your passkey is a strong combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. And, more importantly, keep it hidden. Only give it to other members of your family and people that you trust.
- If your router has a firewall feature, turn it on. This will discourage most hackers from trying to get access to your WiFi network.
- Turn your Wi-Fi off when it’s not in use. Sure, most things need some sort of Wi-Fi connection to function these days, but if you’re not at home and you’re not using it, simply switch it off.
Protect Kids with Parental Controls
Keeping your kids protected when they’re online is incredibly important. The internet can be a dangerous place and there are some people that might prey on the innocence of a child for their own advantage.
To make sure you’re children are kept safe when they’re surfing the web, it’s a good idea to install parental controls on all the computers in your home.
This is usually offered in the form of software, and it works by automatically blocking access to websites that aren’t appropriate for children. Some will even edit search results so that only kid-friendly links are displayed.
You can also set parental controls for your television to stop them accidentally stumbling across a program that features any content you’d rather they didn’t see.
Eliminate Hiding Places
If somebody really wants to get into your home, there’s a chance that they may already be on the property, hiding and waiting for night to fall before they attempt their break-in.
This is a terrifying idea and certainly something that you want to avoid at all costs.
Luckily, the solution is fairly simple. Eliminate any potential hiding places.
This could be overgrown trees and shrubs that provide cover for hiding intruders. Other obstructions such as cars in your driveway or large garden ornaments should also be taken away if at all possible. This is also why it’s important to keep your garage locked, as somebody may see this as the perfect place to hide.
Add Security Cameras
As with illuminating your property, an intruder is definitely going to be deterred by the idea of being caught on camera.
This is why it’s a good idea to add security cameras around the perimeter of your home and in the areas that somebody may try and gain access through.
You don’t necessarily have to have a constant stream of footage running, though.
Some security cameras feature motion sensors that trigger them into recording when they sense movement. They also allow you to view the footage on your smartphone while it’s happening, as well as sending it to you and storing it on a hard drive.
Security cameras don’t have to be super obvious, either. Most Smart Doorbells feature built-in cameras that alert you when somebody is at your door and allow you to speak to them through the doorbell.
Since most home invaders are likely to ring the doorbell to see if anybody is home before they break-in, these are a great deterrent.
Get a Safe
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our homes can still become subject to intruders.
This is why it’s also a good idea to keep anything valuable or sentimental in a safe.
By doing this, you’ll at least be assured that if your home does get broken into, you’ve got an extra layer of internal security that will be virtually impossible to access.
There are lots of different types of safes to choose from, too. Some are simple lock and key models while others need numerical codes entered into them before they’ll open.
Some even feature biometric technology, which means they’ll only open for somebody with a recognizable fingerprint. It’s also a good idea to keep important documents in your safe too, as this can reduce the risk of identity theft.
Passports, marriage certificates, and anything else with your personal information written on it should be stored along with your treasured valuable items.
Use Home Automation
We’ve spoken briefly about Smart Doorbells and how they are an excellent choice for deterring potential intruders.
But, as technology continues to evolve, there are a few other home automation systems that can be used to keep your family safe at home.
- Smart Locks: These aren’t only great for providing an extra layer of security to your doors and windows, but they help to give you extra peace of mind if you’re worried about whether or not you’ve locked the door. All you need to do is head over to your smartphone, click on the app, and you’ll be able to see that your home is securely locked.
- Smart Thermostats: Remember, it’s not just intruders we’re trying to prevent when we’re keeping our family safe at home. We also want to reduce the risk of fire. A Smart Thermostat will alert you if the temperature in your home suddenly soars, making it much easier for you to eliminate the risk of fire before it starts spreading.
- Smart Lights: These are ideal for creating the illusion of somebody being home as they can be controlled through your smartphone. You can even set schedules so they come on and switch off at certain times. Smart Security Lights are also a great way of illuminating the perimeter of your property, and many come with motion sensors and cameras that won’t only shine a light on a potential intruder but will record them too.
As you can see from everything we’ve detailed above, there are lots of different ways to add more security to your home and keep your family safe. This goes deeper than protecting them from intruders, though.
The advice we’ve listed throughout this article will also help to keep your children safe as they grow up, and when they’re online or watching television. This is essential in a world where technology and the internet are quickly taking over all aspects of our lives.
You’ll be able to protect yourself and your family from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning by following our advice, too.
And, in the end, you’ll be able to spend the quality time you want with your family in your home and when you’re away, without having to worry about anything.