Simple steps to avoid catastrophe
Remodels—especially ones that are unorganized and messy—can pose plenty of potential safety issues for people as well as pets.
To truly stay safe during a kitchen remodel, you should probably move into a different home. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that luxury. Safety issues during a remodel are plentiful and it’s hard to recognize all the potential dangers. As hard as it might be, you will have to trust that the construction crew in your home is taking the necessary precautions to keep the work area and surrounding areas safe.
While you may trust yourself to stay out of harm's way, if you have young children or pets, you'll need to be vigilant about their safety. When Candice Gilhooly remodeled her kitchen in 2006, she frequently discussed the issue of child safety in a her blog. “One of the hardest things is that our house is no longer childproofed (i.e., the refrigerator sits next to the furnace, and there are construction materials in the garage), which means I'm all eyes when it comes to my little ones,” she wrote.
Making sure your children feel safe and comfortable with the various workers coming in your house, and the various work zones is also important. Therapist and mediation specialist Erin Johnston says that children should be introduced to everyone working on the project, and have a good sense of work area boundaries. “It is a good idea to introduce the kids to workers who will be in the house on an ongoing basis, both for safety and comfort factors," she says. "Kids should know the rules about who is allowed in the house, where they are allowed to go, and what they are allowed to do.”
If you have pets you’ll need to restrict their access to the construction area, especially during work hours. If it is difficult to keep work zones sealed off, or if your pets are easily frightened or upset by loud construction noises, consider finding a sitter or care-taking facility for them, at least during work hours.
Whether you have a family the size of the Duggars or you’re living on your own, it’s a wise idea to inspect and clean the work zone and surrounding areas at the end of each day. Yes, the remodeling crew should pick up after themselves everyday, but small things like shards of glass, nails and loose wires could get overlooked during the initial cleanup process. See our keeping clean article for more advice on staying tidy and safe.