Learn how to accident-proof your home without ever leaving your desk with the Home Safety Council’s new online tool, MySafeHome.org. The interactive home tour presents an animated house that can be toured room by room, inside and out, to teach about common household risks and safety measures.
Scroll over a risk area (the bathroom, for example, because of falls), and a screen will offer suggestions to minimize the risk (install grab bars, use a rubber bathmat). Click on the suggestion for an explanation of why it would help and for links to more detailed information.
Some of these suggestions involve safety technologies and products, while others are simple risk-minimizing steps. Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council, says the organization likes to offer both approaches. For example, you could reduce your risk of fire by positioning your space heater three feet away from things that get hot, or you could get a new space heater that turns off automatically if flipped over.
“We love it if you can afford to engineer away a problem, but we realize not everybody’s going to be able to have all these things,” Appy says. “Sometimes you can be safer without spending a dime but just by choosing what to do or not to do.”
MySafeHome focuses on the top five causes of accidents at home—falls, poisoning, fires and burns, choking/suffocation and drowning. You can tour at your own pace, repeating sections or skipping those that don’t pertain to you. Customizable tours based on life stages or abilities—an “older adults” tour, a “families with children” tour, or tours for those with various disabilities—are in the works. For now, however, the tour is universal in design—it shows safety improvements that can help everybody, says Appy.
Boomers caring for older loved ones might check out the tool for caregiving tips, while “a lot of older people care for little kids, and there are some new ways of keeping babies and children safe that haven’t been around very long.”
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