Simple Tips From A Home Inspector To Make Your Home Safer For Children
As a home inspector I often see home problems that can be very dangerous and should require immediate correction. Some of these dangerous problems are relatively simple fixes but failure to address them could be very dangerous for children.
One common issue I often see is water that is way too hot at the faucets. Water that is 140 degrees or hotter at the faucet can cause burns to small children in just a few seconds. Children who turn on the water may not realize how hot it is until they stick their hand under the faucet. This is a simple fix of turning down the temperature on your water heater. It not only prevents possible injury but saves money. When your water heater water temperature is cranked up too hot the water heater needs to use more energy to keep the temperature at a high level. Turning it down to about 120 degrees saves energy and possible injury. It's still plenty hot for showers or any other needs.
Stairs are a dangerous area for kids. Even kids that can go up and down stairs often get injure when there is not a continuous handrail from the top of the stairs to the bottom of the stairs. They need to be able to hold onto something going up and down. Doors that open over stairs are also dangerous. Having to try and open a closed door and pull it open over the stairs is unsafe. What if someone is on the stairs and someone swings the door when they are coming up the stairs and they get knocked backwards and tumble down the stairs? Stairs are dangerous for older adults and the elderly as well. It's one of the areas in a home where many serious injuries occur.
Electrical outlets/receptacles should have a cover plate over them. Whether they are in a garage or basement or anywhere in a home the wires in an electrical outlet are live and should be protected. A child that sticks a toy or finger inside on outlet without a cover protecting the live wires could result in serious injury or worse. Placing a cover is relatively simple to do.
Deck guard and stair balusters should be 4 inches or less apart to ensure a child cannot stick their head in between the guards or balusters and be injured. Often these are found to be too wide and don't provide the needed protection for children.
The above examples are just a few of the more common issues we find during a home inspection. Problems that may cause injury are just some of the areas we inspect during a home inspection. We serve Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Walworth Counties.
Bob Carter is a home inspector in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. He is the owner of Dairyland Home Inspection.