Take a minute and think about all you provide to make sure guests enjoy your vacation rental home.
Clean, working, and updated fixtures and appliances – Check.
Unblemished walls and fresh paint – Check.
Clean, comfortable furniture – Check.
Well-maintained yard, patio, decks – Check.
Yet visitors may still leave your home with a poor impression due to a slip, burn, or other injuries.
Chances are slim that your guests will have a severe incident or serious injury at your home. But, these low-cost, time-efficient fixes can alleviate many of the hazards that can lead to accidents and make for more pleasant visits.
Here are a few low-cost ideas to keep your home’s aesthetic appeal while making it safer for your guest:
Unsecured Rugs and Frayed Carpet
You likely know that falls are a leading cause of unintentional injury for adults 65 and older. But anyone can take a tumble when they trip on a scatter rug, or it slips beneath them.
A scientific study shows that falls occurred 54.2% on carpets and 45.8% on rugs. The primary location of falls were the bathroom (35.7%) and the bedroom (21.3%). Danger areas include space between carpet/rug and non-carpet/rug, on wet carpets and rugs, or rushing to a bathroom.
Solution: Secure rugs with non-skid backing or tape and repair curled carpet edges.
Slick Bathroom Floors
Again, chances of debilitating falls in the bathroom increase with age. But younger people also suffer serious bathroom falls, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The tub or shower was the location of over 66% of the injuries. Very few injuries (2%) occur when getting into the tub or shower. Researchers theorized that is due, in part, to dry floors at that time.
Another leading cause of falls was getting up or sitting down on the toilet (14%).
Solution: Install non-slip strips in the tub and shower and grab bars in the showers and next to the toilet. Also, install a night light in the bathroom so your guests don’t stumble if they use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Falls on stairs are often caused by behavior, according to research. Studies show that between 7-36% of all falls on stairs are often caused by distracted behavior, not using a handrail, walking on stocking feet, and carrying too many items. Just over half (51% of those that fall and suffer Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are age 65 or older but 27% are young and middle-aged adults.
Solution: Pay attention to the stairs in your home, both inside and outside. If they don’t feel stable, have them reinforced. Ensure solid handrails and adequate lights are affixed.
Inside, keep items (potted plants, tables, small objects) out of stairways and landings. It’s also a good idea to have a baby gate available for guests to use. Outside, promptly remove snow, ice, and slippery leaves. Keep steps free of plants and decorations.
(Not So) Sharp Objects
One of the most common accidents at home is accidentally cutting oneself on sharp object like a knife or scissors. You can’t force guests to cut meats, fruits, and vegetables on a cutting board or to pay attention when they use a knife. That’s too bad because both lower the chance of injury but there are precautions you can take.
Solution: Make sure that all of your knives and scissors are sharp. Dull blades require more pressure and can easily slip off the object. That can lead to tough-to-heal cuts, according to the University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center. Also, ditch the knife block. It’s too easy for kids to grab knives from it. Keep knives in drawers and out of sight.
Electricity, Charcoal, and Hot Water
Your guests can suffer burns in any number of ways in your home. Electric appliances shorting out, charcoal discarded before it is adequately cooled, candles, unattended frying pans that start grease fires, and more add to the danger.
Solution: For starters, have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors on each floor of the home, and only allow qualified, licensed electricians to work on any electrical wiring. Also consider these action items:
- Unplug small appliances when not in use and ask guests to do the same.
- Turn down the temperature of the water heater to prevent scalding.
- Don’t allow extension cords to be used with portable heaters (they overheat!)
- Supply oven mitts.
- Watch the grill. Ask guests to let charcoal cool 48 hours before discarding it. Some guests will want to use the grill sooner. That’s why you should supply long tongs and a metal container, which they can fill with water. Instruct guests to remove the charcoal one piece at a time and place each in the water. Remind them not to pour water on the charcoal because steam may rise and burn them.
You’ve worked hard to ensure guests enjoy your vacation rental home – take these few extra steps to keep them as safe as possible.