How to Reduce the Risks in Your Home

MOST of us are convinced we can look after ourselves and our families. We warn our children not to talk to strangers, we stick to the speed limit and we take cabs home rather than walking alone at night.

Yet many of us throw caution to the wind in the place that’s statistically the most dangerous of all - our own homes.

“Every year about 4,000 people die in home accidents in the UK, compared to around 3,400 on the roads,” “Children account for nearly half of those injured -in fact, accidental injuries are the commonest cause of death in children.

“We’re well protected outside the home, with lots of regulations on the roads and in the workplace. But at home we take surprising risks, largely because we see our homes as a safe haven.”

Here’s the lowdown on the most common types of domestic accident and how to avoid them.


Every day the fire service is called out to 140 house fires and 800 people a year die in them. “It only takes an unguarded moment for a fire to start”.

Within minutes, your home could be filled with poisonous fumes and smoke.

Slash your risk

  • Smoke Alarms

If a fire starts, your chances of survival depend on getting out quickly and a smoke alarm gives you an early warning. “But make sure they work, people often take out the batteries to use in toys or remote controls, and then forget to replace them.” View more information.

  • Ditch Chip Pans

According to the fire service these are the most common cause of domestic fires, with more than 4,000 people hurt by them a year. If you must cook chips, invest in one of the new thermostat-controlled electric deep-fat fryers which cut out before they overheat. Safety advice.

Or for super-healthy chips, simply slice up pieces of potato, brush them with olive oil and bake them in the oven on a medium heat for around 30 minutes.

  • Never Leave Candles Burning

It may seem soothing to fall asleep with a candle flickering in your bedroom, but it’s extremely dangerous. How dangerous?

Dodgy DIY

Too many people think they can do jobs that should really be done by professionals. They’ll undertake work without the proper equipment, spray toxic chemicals without safety goggles and try to wallpaper the living-room balancing on stepladders in slippers at 9pm after a long day’s work.

No wonder 200,000 DIY fans turn up at A&E every year. And dodgy DIY could have long-term effects, with bad wiring causing fires, for example.

Slash your risk

  • Plan & Prepare

Make sure you’ve allowed enough time to complete a job and invest in all the right equipment. Tips here.

  • Wear the Right Clothing

Use safety goggles and gloves if necessary, and wear shoes that fully cover your feet to avoid broken toes.

  • Leave It to the Professionals

Be honest - do you really think you’re up to the job? If you’re not sure, call in a tradesman. According to RoSPA, plumbing, gas, electrical-fitting jobs and any work that requires ladders should probably be done by a professional.