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  • How to Make Sure Your Rental Home is Safe

    Vacation is a time for exploration, rest, relaxation and fun. Every year, millions of Americans rent residential vacation spaces through online lodging services like Airbnb, HomeToGo, VRBO, and Tripping instead of booking commercial hotels or motels. Customers have the option to rent private or shared spaces and can also book a property for multiple people to share. While renting a home in this way has numerous benefits, like offering an inexpensive living space with lots of character and comfort, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reminding vacation goers that it is still important to make safety a priority.

    The CPSC’s Residential Rental Home Safety Checklist

    Fire Safety

    The CPSC estimates that there were 362,000 unintentional residential fires, which resulted in approximately 2,370 deaths and 10,390 injuries, every year from 2016 to 2018. Some of these fires occurred in residential vacation units while guests were renting them out. The CPSC has the following tips for keeping your vacation free from fire-related hazards:

    • Check with the property owner or manager to verify that the property has working smoke and fire alarms and has at least one fire extinguisher
    • If you are cooking, make sure you stay in the kitchen the entire time
    • Know how to escape if there is a fire in the residence. Practice with your family or the group you are traveling with

    Pool Safety

    Lots of vacation homes have pools and/or spas. In children between the ages of 1 and 4-years-old, drowning is the leading cause of death. On average, there are around 389 fatal pool and spa-related drownings involving children and teens under the age of 15 each year. Last year, 6,800 kids and teens sustained nonfatal pool and spa-related injuries that required emergency medical care.

    Here are some tips for having fun and staying safe when you and your loved ones are poolside:

    • Never leave a child unattended in or around water
    • Know how to perform CPR on both children and adults
    • Ask the property owner or manager about pool barriers, covers and alarms around the pool and/or spa. Use them consistently
    • Make sure children learn how to swim
    • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapment

    Furniture and TVs, Window Cords, Cleaning Supplies and Sleep Spaces

    • Safe sleep practices for babies include placing them in a product that is intended for sleep, like a crib, bassinet, bedside sleeper or play yard. Keep the sleep space bare other than a fitted sheet. This helps to prevent suffocation. Avoid using pillows, bumpers, quilts or comforters in the child’s sleeping space. If you are using a children’s sleep product that the property provides, make sure that it meets federal safety standards
    • More than 22,000 furniture, TV and appliance tip-over incidents happen every year. Nearly half of these incidents involve children under the age of 18. Before you rent a vacation space, check with the property owner or manager to make sure all furniture has been anchored to the wall. Also, do not let children climb on furniture and avoid placing toys and television remotes where children may be tempted to climb up or reach for them
    • For poison prevention, be sure to go through the rental and lock cleaning supplies in a closet or store them in an area where children cannot access them
    • Make sure that window cords are out of reach of children to prevent strangulation hazards

    Residential Elevators

    Some properties come equipped with residential elevators. According to the CPSC, homes with residential elevators can pose a danger to small children if the gap between the elevator door and the access door inside the home is greater than four inches deep. Because of the gap, small children can become entrapped between the elevator and access doors. When this happens, children can sustain major bodily injuries including skull and vertebrae fractures, traumatic asphyxia and crushing injuries. Over the last few decades, residential elevators have been linked to thousands of injuries. To reduce residential elevator-related hazards, the CPSC recommends asking the property owner or manager to lock all access doors to the elevator so that children cannot enter and to prohibit children from playing on or around elevators.

    Simply by taking a few extra steps and precautions, you can increase the chances of you, your friends and loved ones having a good and safe vacation. If you would like to read more of the CPSC’s tips for how to make your home away from home a relaxing and secure space, please visit: https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/General-Information/Provide-a-Safe-Home-Away-from-Home.

    If you have a question about filing a legal claim, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.

    Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    ALLENTOWN/BETHLEHEM
    610-865-4212

    LANCASTER
    717-824-3376

    READING
    610-376-1696