Is your home as safe as you think? Our top tips show you how to avoid 9 hidden sources of danger.

1. Disconnect from the mains

Remove CDs or DVDs and remember to switch off and unplug hi-fi equipment before you begin any cleaning or repair jobs. After disconnecting the unit, wait for at least five minutes before touching anything to allow high internal voltages to die away.

 

2. Secure freestanding units

Secure the tops of tall bookcases and display units with L-shaped brackets so they cannot topple over if they are unevenly loaded or if a child tries to climb up the shelves.

 

3. Prevent a heat surge

The water temperature in a shower can rise suddenly and cause scalding if a cold tap is turned on elsewhere in the house. Eliminate the risk by replacing the shower mixer with a thermostatically controlled model or by fitting a mains-fed electric shower unit.

 

4. Choose coiled leads

Swap long flexes on kettles, toasters and other appliances for coiled or short straight leads that cannot dangle over the edge of worktops where a small child could reach and pull them.

 

5. Remove or tape down

Loose rugs laid on polished wooden hall floors and landings pose a serious hazard, especially near the top of stairs. Either remove them or fix special non-slip tape to the underside.

 

6. Use warning stickers

Place a colourful label at eye level on patio doors to warn people of their existence. It’s easy to walk into the glass, especially in fine weather when you might expect the doors to be open.

 

7. Light the way

Falls tend to occur at entrance doorways, on stairs and in kitchens and bathrooms, often because people cannot see where they are going. Wire in two-way light switches so that nobody has to negotiate the stairs in the dark. Put up a hand rail if necessary. Fit outside lights to illuminate the route to your front door at night.

 

8. Fix castor cups

Chairs and sofas with castors can move about and become dangerous. Fix castor cups beneath the castors to prevent this.

 

9. Check your boiler

If you have no record of when a gas or oil-fired central-heating boiler or water heater was last serviced, arrange for a service straightaway. This will ensure that the appliance burns its fuel properly and is adequately ventilated. If you experience headaches or drowsiness in the room when an appliance is on, don’t use it until it’s been checked.

 

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