Soon, some of our homes will be filled with family and friends as we gather together to celebrate the holidays. Being the host for a holiday gathering means more than decorating your home and preparing a wonderful meal. You also need to plan for the safety of your guests. With grandparents, parents and children all under one roof, there are some simple steps you can take to keep all of your guests safe in your home.
Consider the different ages and needs of your guests. If you have younger children visiting, make sure medications, cleaning supplies, lighters and matches are in secure locations. Prevent hot water burns by adjusting your water heater temperature to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the back burners for cooking whenever possible, and turn pot handles to the back of the stove so children as less likely pull them over on themselves.
Small items like coins, buttons, jewelry and toys can pose a risk for choking. As a guideline, if something is small enough to fit inside a toilet paper tube, it’s not safe for small children. You might want to do a quick sweep through your home to find and put away any of these small objects before the little ones arrive.
To help keep your holidays injury-free for all of your guests, make sure you have adequate lighting over entryways, stairways and hallways. A nightlight in the hallway or bathroom will be especially appreciated by anyone getting up for a midnight stroll. Put non-slip strips or a mat in all tubs and showers. You may want to consider installing grab bars in your bath and shower area.
Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home. Push the test buttons to make sure they all work. An all-purpose fire extinguisher should be kept in the kitchen, just in case of a cooking disaster.
With a little preparation, you can make your home a wonderful and safe place to enjoy with your family and friends this holiday season.
By Patti Scholten, RN, BSN
Manager, Home Health and Hospice