Vice President of Communications, American Home Furnishings Alliance
With 50 percent of Americans expected to be at least partially vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by mid-May and 75 percent by July 4, there’s more than warm weather on the way! Soon we’ll be opening our doors to children who’ve come to play, relatives who’ve come to visit, and friends who’ve come to enjoy socializing on the porch or patio.
To help ensure your leisure time with family and friends this summer is carefree, the American Home Furnishings Alliance suggests a careful home safety audit this spring. This review of potential hazards inside and out – along with tips for remedying any problems – will help you relax and enjoy your summer.
1. Conduct a furniture audit
Those long days of COVID quarantine left many of us with worn-out furnishings. Now is a great time to look for pieces that need repair or replacement, such as chairs or tables with loose joinery, sagging sofas, or shelves that are bowing under the weight of work and school supplies. Plan to replace any essential pieces that you’re unable to repair.
2. Out with the old
Examine older outdoor furnishings, too. Look for surfaces that may have become splintered, rusted or cracked, as well as mechanisms that are bent or broken. Repair or replace damaged pieces to prevent injuries.
3. Take a stand on TV safety
If you upgraded your TV over the winter, did you also upgrade your media cabinetry? One size does not fit all when it comes to today’s flat screen televisions. Make sure televisions that are not wall-mounted are placed on appropriately-sized cabinets designed to hold electronics. Always anchor televisions to the wall or to the furniture on which they set. Never place an unsecured television of any size in a child’s room.
4. Anchor it
Anchors aren’t just for televisions. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about six children in the United States die every year as a result of a furniture tip-over incident. Chests, dressers and cabinets are involved in the majority of furniture tip-over accidents and should be anchored in homes with small children. Order furniture anchors online, or find them in the child-proofing section of home improvement stores.
5. Review fire safety rules
A review of your family’s fire safety plan is essential for summer safety. Don’t leave matches, grill lighters or fireworks within reach of young children. Take care, too, to follow manufacturers’ safety instructions for today’s popular backyard fire pits.
6. Diminish dust
If you’ve had your sofa more than seven years, quarantine wear and tear is not the only reason to consider ditching it. Prior to 2013, most upholstered furniture contained flame retardant chemicals in the foam so it could resist open flame ignition. Some research shows those chemicals can end up in household dust when the foam in old upholstery breaks down. New upholstery is more fire-safe, because it’s constructed to resist smolder ignition – the leading cause of home fires involving upholstery – so FR chemicals are no longer needed.