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21 Little Ways To Make Your Home Less Of A Death Trap

Home safety is no joke, you guys!!!!!!!!

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When I was reading Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson (full review of the book here), I was sort of shocked to realize how fast and loose I — and most people I know — play with home safety.

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As I read all of the logical, researched-based info about things like slips and falls and kitchen fires, I immediately thought of all the injuries (and close calls) people I know have experienced in their homes. Home safety is no joke, especially if you have older folks living or staying with you!

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After reading it, I took several steps to make my place a little bit less of a death trap. Here's some of the best advice:

1. Night lights are an incredibly cheap and easy safety upgrade.

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If you don't already have night lights throughout your home and/or near your stairs, consider adding a few — especially before you have guests, who can easily hurt themselves when stumbling around in dark and unfamiliar spaces. Mendelson also suggests making sure the top stair and the bottom stair of each staircase is illuminated, since that's where falls tend to happen.

Get them on Amazon — a four-pack of night lights for $7.87, and a three-pack of stick-on lights (for stairs) for $11.97.

2. If you need to reach something above your head, don't stand on a chair — use a step stool or step ladder.

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Even though we've all done it, climbing on a chair or counter isn't the safest way to get things down from shelves. (TBH, there have definitely been times when I stood on a slipper, wobbly chair and thought, This is...not a good idea. AND YET! THERE I WAS!!!!!) I finally bought an inexpensive step stool to keep in my kitchen so I would no longer be tempted to make such poor life choices. (Also, not having to drag out a chair means I'm more likely to put things that go on high shelves away immediately!) If you have a little more space and/or typically need to reach things higher up, you could also get step ladder.

Get both on Amazon — the 11-inch step stool (holds up to 300 lbs.) for $9.99, and the step ladder (holds up to 330 lbs.) for $32.95.

3. If you spill or drip water, actually dry it.

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I've definitely been guilty of just letting water spills dry on their own, but now I take the extra 15 seconds to dry them. The reason? As Mendelson writes, "Even a 'clean' wet countertop can be home to millions of bacteria, but you can create a staggeringly reduced bacterial count simply by drying it off and keeping it dry for a couple of hours. The simplest and most important rule of food safety is: keep your kitchen clean and dry."

Also, water spills on the floor can lead to slips and falls and a grandma who was never quite the same after that. So dry them!!!

4. If two drinking glasses get stuck inside of each other, try this tip to avoid breaking them as you pull them apart: fill the inner glass with cold water (so it'll shrink) or submerge the outer glass in warm water (so it'll expand) and then gently pull them apart.

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5. Speaking of broken glass, if you do break something, shine a flashlight parallel to the floor. The glass bits should cast shadows, making it easier to see them all and clean them up.

6. Wear slippers with non-skid soles.

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I always thought of slippers as something to keep my socks clean and my feet warm, and not as much as a safety measure. But after sliding across my wood floors in socks a few times recently, I immediately bought some new slippers and now I wear them all the time at home.

Get them on Amazon — women's slippers (two colors, sizes 7-10) for $17.98 and men's slippers (two colors, sizes 8-13) for $19.99.

7. Use rug pads and/or rug tape.

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It's stupidly easy to trip over the turned-up corner of a rug, and a lightweight rug without a pad under it basically operates like a banana peel in a cartoon. (To quote Mendelson: "Throw rugs, particularly at entrances, that lack nonstick backs are close to assaultive.") It's also just inconvenient to have to keep sliding your rugs back into place.

Get everything on Amazon — buy rug pads in every size for $13.99+, and get a 30-yard roll of rug tape for $14.98.

8. If you have something cooking in the oven or on the stove top, carry a wooden spoon or potholder with you as a reminder to check on it.

9. Use potholders.

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It may seem obvious, but you shouldn't use paper towels or your sleeves to cover your hands when grasping a hot pan. I have the ones shown above; they are inexpensive and they get the job done.

Get a set of three on Amazon for $6.99. (Available in 23 colors.)

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11. Keep a fire extinguisher in your home.

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Mendelson recommends placing the fire extinguisher in a spot where it would be unlikely that you'd have to reach through the fire to get to it. (So...don't put it on the counter just behind the stove, which is where the fire extinguisher was in my house growing up.) She actually suggests putting it near the entrance/exit to the room, which is what I do now.

Get one on Amazon for $39.97.

P.S. I have these smaller aerosol fire extinguishing sprays in my tiny apartment. Get one on Amazon for $12.97, or a two-pack for $24.99.

12. Have working smoke detectors that are actually turned on.

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Of course, you already have several fully functional smoke detectors, right? Right???? Well, I'll leave this here just in case.

Get a smoke detector on Amazon for $10.36.

ALSO! Stock up on batteries before your smoke detector starts chirping incessantly (leading you to rip it off the wall, and then die in a fire before you've made it to the store).

Get an 8 pack of 9-volt batteries on Amazon for $9.99.

14. Consider keeping a fire escape ladder on the second story.

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At my old house, the master bedroom was on the second floor, at the end of a hallway that would likely be unusable if a fire started on the first floor. There were two windows in the room, but it was a loooong drop down. So I kept one of these ladders in the bedroom next to the window.

Here's a harrowing review, if you're not convinced: "A family in our community recently died because they could not get out of their two story home. My husband is a firefighter and was one of the ones to find the family huddled beside the upstairs window. It was one of the saddest things ever. It was a mom and a dad and two kids. The stairwell in their home had burned up and they couldn't get out. If they had had a fire ladder they might have lived. After my husband got home from that call he ordered one of these on Amazon immediately."

Get a 13-foot ladder on Amazon for $32.77.

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15. Don't wait for food to cool down before storing it — transfer it to the fridge immediately.

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Harmful bacteria are likely to grow quickly when food is at temperatures between 60 degrees and 125 degrees. So the USDA advises people to put foods in the refrigerator or freezer immediately to cool them down — don't let them cool on the counter first, because it'll take longer, and they'll spend more time in the danger zone. It may make sense to put, say, a big batch of soup into a few smaller containers first before refrigerating so it'll cool faster.

17. Actually pay attention to your fridge's temperature.

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It shouldn't be warmer than 40 degrees, and the easiest way to know for sure is to just use a fridge thermometer.

Get one on Amazon for $4.57.

18. Don't store eggs or butter in the refrigerator door.

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Mendelson says that the temperature in the door shelves tends to fluctuate more and can be too warm for dairy, fresh meats, fish, and poultry.

20. Stash some flashlights throughout your home so you don't find yourself feeling around in the dark.

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I keep one in my entryway table (just so I always know where it is) and I also put flashlights in all the nightstands.

Get them on Amazon — buy a pack of two flashlights for $12.76, and a four-pack of mini flashlights (for nightstands, cars, etc.) for $9.99.

21. And actually come up with an emergency plan.

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At the very least, designate a spot where you'll meet in the event of a fire. And get tips for setting up a more robust plan here.

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