Summer Home Safety Tips

African American family enjoying time in a pool.

Whether you are planning to stay close to home this summer or take the family for an adventure far from the four walls you have been staring at for the past year, Hippo has a few tips to safely enjoy the upcoming summer season. 

People have done plenty to make their homes their sanctuary, especially after the year we have had, and with homeowners spending more time going in and out of their homes in the nice weather, it is even more critical to keep safety top of mind.

Heat/Sun Protection

Spending more time outdoors means more sun exposure and risk of dehydration and/or sunburn. Make sure to have shady areas to keep cool, keep at least SPF 30 sunblock handy and always drink water. Temperatures are generally at their highest between 11 am and 4 pm, so be hyper-vigilant, especially during that time frame.

AC/Fan Safety

Warmer temperatures mean that you will be needing to stay cool by using your packed away air conditioning and fan units. For your fans and portable air conditioning units, maintenance is pretty straightforward. Check that any filters are clean and whether they need to be replaced and check the power chords and plugs that they are in good condition and not worn or showing any damage.

If you have central air conditioning or an AC unit built into your home, it is best to have a professional out to inspect and service accordingly. Avoid injury or any hazards from attempting to do it yourself. It also assures an expert eye will pick up on any potential issue that a layperson may not see that could turn into a more significant problem as the unit sees more use during the season. 

Grilling and Fire Protection

Grilling, fire pits and bonfires are all favorites during the summer months — who doesn't love roasting marshmallows after a fun day in the pool or on the lake? Keep in mind, though, that these can be dangerous if not handled properly. This is especially true if you have young children in the house, as they can accidentally injure themselves or others. Below are things you need to be aware of before grilling or starting a bonfire this summer to keep your family (and your home) safe.

The number one tip to remember: never leave a fire unattended. This will help keep the fire under control, as well as prevent any potential injuries from children or pets getting too close to the flame.

The Hippo Home Care team recommends keeping your fire pit or grill at least 10 feet from your home or any other structures (shed, dog house, etc.), and away from any overhanging trees. Basically, if it’s flammable, keep it far away from the fire. Do not let pets or children within three feet of the fire, and limit their activity around the fire pit or grill to prevent trips or falls that can lead to bigger accidents.

When going inside for the night, it’s important to fully extinguish the fire — don’t just let it burn out. This will help ensure the safety of your backyard and home. While it’s recommended to keep a fire extinguisher on-hand for emergencies, a fire pit or grill can simply be put out with water once you are finished with it. It’s also a good idea to keep a first-aid kit nearby in case of accidents or burns.

Pool Safety

Whether you have an in-ground pool, a hot tub, above ground pool or inflatable pool, children should always be supervised while swimming. If possible, enroll your children in swimming lessons early or teach them how to swim yourself. As they’re learning, they should always have a life jacket or other flotation device on before getting in the water. To make sure you’re prepared in the event of an accident, become CPR-certified and keep a flotation device, first-aid kit and scissors (to cut pool covers or clothing) nearby at all times.

In order to keep swimming fun and safe for the whole family, make sure that pool time is agreed upon beforehand. To ensure you know when your child is near the water, add back door and gate alarms to alert you of any movement near the pool or hot tub. Smart home devices like outdoor cameras are another great option, as they allow you to monitor outside activity from afar. It’s also important to keep your pool covered when not in use — to prevent anyone from falling in. When the pool isn’t covered, a device like a water sensor can alert you to any movement under the surface.

Preparation and monitoring are key to accident prevention each summer. With a few simple upgrades, proper liability insurance to protect yourself in the event of an accident and lots of SPF, you can rest assured that your backyard is safe for your children and pets. This will help you all focus on creating a summer full of fun memories by the water.

Setting Safety Rules

Children’s safety is the ultimate goal of every parent, but unfortunately it’s easier said than done. Since you can’t keep your eye on them 24/7, it’s important to talk with your kids about summer safety, including the limits you’ve placed on how far they can venture out or what activities they take part in without you nearby.

In addition to installing safety measures like gates around the pool and locks on medicine cabinets, it’s important to let your children know what type of play is and isn’t allowed. Playing in a parked car, for example, can easily turn dangerous in the summer heat.

As your kids get older, they'll likely want to venture out to play with friends away from home. Remember all the fun you had as a teenager? You probably also remember your parents setting rules to keep you safe. Before letting them out to play, establish ground rules for how far they can go and for how long so that you know they aren’t straying too far from home. Make sure they know the potential dangers of your area and have your cell phone numbers memorized in case of an emergency. This way, they can enjoy summers as a kid to the fullest extent while still giving you some much needed peace of mind!

While this may seem like a lot, setting up ground rules before temperatures rise can help ensure that everyone has a safe and fun summer (not to mention giving you some well-deserved alone time).

Security and monitoring

As temperatures rise in the summer months, unfortunately so do the rates of home break-ins and theft. A study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that, on average, there is an 11% increase in home-based crimes during the summer months. And though we may be staying home more than ever before, this increase is enough to make anyone nervous during a weekend getaway. But thankfully, smart home technology has advanced in recent years, giving homeowners control over their home protection and monitoring capabilities.

Recent additions to the smart home market include indoor and outdoor cameras, motion detection lighting and automatic locks that can alert you on your phone any time someone locks or unlocks a door. These devices are not only helpful for identifying and stopping burglaries, but they’re also great for monitoring your children's activity throughout your home. Some devices even allow you to speak to your children or play music directly through a speaker system.

Summer Storm Protection

Summer storms are also a very real thing, so when those clouds start to gather, it is safest to begin packing away your outdoor items for protection. It is also important to wait at least 30 minutes after the storm has come and gone before you venture back out for any extended period.

Natural disasters are occurring at triple the rate they did 50 years ago. Do your best never to be caught off-guard by assembling an emergency kit, just in case. Chances are you most likely have some of the items together already, like a flashlight and a cell phone power bank. Bonus points for making an evacuation plan and practicing it.

Summer is a season of endless possibilities. Just make sure to carve out some time for cleaning and repairs — and fun too! While you may make most repairs yourself, some things are better left to the professionals.

About the Author:

Hippo Insurance is an InsurTech company that’s reimagining home insurance through the lens of homeowners – building policies with more comprehensive coverage for today's consumers at up to 25% less than competitors. Hippo Home Care helps you care for your home and prevent small issues from becoming big headaches.


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