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Make sure your home’s a real haven

“But actually there are many other potential hazards that need to be addressed if we really want our homes to be safe havens. And this is particularly relevant during the summer holidays, when many families tend to spend more time at home than usual,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says parents with small children, for example, should be careful to always keep medicines, cleaning products and cosmetics out of their reach in order to prevent accidental poisonings.

“In addition, you should always put loose coins, keys, hard sweets, nuts, craft and hobby supplies and, of course, balloons where children cannot see or touch them. Other choking hazards include toys and games with small parts.

“And if you have a baby, safety experts say you should not put pillows, extra blankets, comforters or toys in the cot or crib, as these things can sometimes cause a sleeping child to suffocate. Babies should also be put to sleep on their backs, not their stomachs.”

Everitt says burns are another big danger for children, so you should never leave a child alone with a lighted candle or lamp, matches or a lighter.

“You should also make sure pot handles are always turned towards the back of your stove when you’re cooking, and turn down the thermostat on your geyser to 50degC or less to reduce the risk of anyone being scalded.

“Water, however, is the biggest worry, and whenever your children are in or near water, the best safety measure is for you to be close enough to reach out and touch them – and giving them your full attention. This goes for bathtubs, toilets, spas, fishponds and even buckets of water as well as swimming pools.”

Meanwhile, he says, you can make things easier, and safer, for the seniors in the family by installing grab bars in the shower and over the bathtub, by using non-slip material under loose carpets and by ensuring that stairs and landings are properly lit.
*For more home safety advice, see www.rospa.com/homesafety and www.homesafetycouncil.org


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