11 autumn safety tips to keep you and your family safe

Posted October 1st, 2023 by SimpliSafe

Summer’s nearly over, but this doesn’t mean the year is over yet! Autumn and the following festive season are some of the best times of the year – full of parties, celebrations and cosy nights in front of the fireplace. 

However, it’s important not to get complacent about safety as the year draws closer. You may not be venturing out and about as much as the weather cools, but there are still plenty of hazards you could run into at home or elsewhere. Here are 11 ways to try and keep you and your family safe this autumn, including home security system tips, fire safety tips, Halloween safety tips and more.

1. Don’t burn leaves

Is there anything more autumnal than the leaves turning orange and falling from the trees? Fallen leaves can create beautiful sights and scenery throughout autumn, but they can also become hazardous.

To keep their gardens neat, many people like to rake fallen leaves into piles. If you do this, make sure you don’t burn these leaf piles in an effort to keep your garden clean. Sodden leaves can release harmful chemicals into the air when burned, in addition to potentially causing a nuisance. To keep you and your family safe – especially if you have asthma – avoid burning piles of wet leaves.

Another potential hazard related to wet leaves is children playing in leaf piles. This may seem like harmless fun, but anything could end up in these leaf piles if they’ve been left there for a while, including sharp objects or animals. 

2. Fire safety: blow out the candles

As the weather gets cooler and the nights get longer, it’s the perfect time to light some candles and really amp up the cosy atmosphere. However, it’s important to remember basic fire safety and never leave candles unattended. Blow out your candles before you leave the house or go to bed, and never put them within the reach of children or pets. Open flames should also be kept away from any flammable materials to prevent house fires.

3. Fire safety: check heaters and fireplaces

You might also want to turn on the heating or light the fireplace this autumn and winter. Before you do, you should check the condition of your heaters and fireplaces since they’ve been unused all summer. Perform a proper inspection and ensure your fireplace is clean, as this will help the fire burn safely.

If you use space heaters, remember to never leave them on while unattended. Space heaters can also cause fires if they’re placed too close to other objects, so leave a clear space around them. It also goes without saying that you should turn off your space heater before going to bed or leaving the house.

4. Check your alarms

Another thing you should check this autumn is your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. To keep you and your family safe, it’s essential that you regularly inspect and maintain your smoke detectors and alarms, as you may not even realise they’re not working properly until it’s too late. 

You should also replace your batteries once a year to stay on the safe side. Autumn is a great time to do this as you can coordinate your alarm inspection and battery changing with changing the clocks in October. 

5. Install a security system

Everyone moans about the days getting shorter in autumn, but one group of people who aren’t complaining are burglars. With the longer, darker nights, burglars may now have more opportunities to scope out and break into your property without being detected.

Keep your home, family and valuables safe with a comprehensive home security system from SimpliSafe. Our security systems can include motion sensors, temperature sensors and outdoor cameras with motion-activated spotlights, so you can catch criminals in the act despite the darkness. To create a truly bespoke solution, you can also build your own security system and create a home security system that’s perfect for you.

6. Drive carefully

The darker days can also impact your safety on the road. Darker conditions naturally can make it harder to see some hazards, and with children now back at school, there’s a real danger of drivers not being able to see children properly as they walk home. Plus, road conditions worsen as the weather gets wetter, especially if you factor in all of the wet, slippery leaves falling on the road.

Throughout autumn and winter, it’s important to drive more slowly and carefully to account for the wetter, darker conditions, even if there’s never any snow on the road. You may also want to keep some sunglasses in the car, as windshield glare can be more common when the sun is lower in the sky. 

In addition, it’s a good idea to give your children backpacks with reflective material so they’re more visible as they walk home from school. This is also a good time to talk to them about road safety so that they’re reminded of sensible behaviour when walking by roads. This could be incorporated into more general discussions about safety and home safety, and you can even include these topics in educational activities.

7. Halloween safety

One of the major highlights of autumn is Halloween. Whether you like to dress up, go to Halloween parties or stay at home to provide sweets for trick-or-treaters, Halloween can be great fun for all ages.

However, Halloween certainly isn’t the time to throw all of your safety knowledge out the window! If you have children who are going trick or treating, make sure they will be visible in the dark. Giving them some glow sticks or torches can be a great way to do this, or you could incorporate visibility into their costume with bright or glow-in-the-dark elements. For younger children, it’s a good idea to supervise them while trick or treating and to go earlier in the evening.

If you like to carve pumpkins, just be careful with your hands and use the right tools – a giant kitchen knife may be a bit overkill! Always supervise children if they’re carving pumpkins too.

8. Firework safety

Don’t forget about Bonfire Night in November! This classic British tradition has been celebrated for hundreds of years, but unfortunately, many people injure themselves due to the bonfires and fireworks.

We would always recommend attending an official fireworks display rather than trying to set up your own bonfire and fireworks, but if you do choose to do it yourself, make sure you have enough space for everyone to stand far back. There should be a designated responsible adult who’s in charge of the fire and fireworks, and they should stay sober and wear non-flammable clothing for the duration of the display.

If you have kids over five, you may decide to let them have a sparkler. This can be a lot of fun for them, but make sure they understand how to handle them at a safe distance – they should also be wearing gloves and non-flammable clothing. Keep a bucket of cold water near you to properly extinguish the sparkler when it burns out.

9. Wash your hands

Unfortunately, the arrival of autumn means the return of cold and flu season in addition to all of these festivities. Although it's always important to wash your hands, especially when you’ve been out in public, you should definitely consider washing your hands more frequently to combat bacteria and viruses. You should also explain the importance of hygiene to children, who may be more likely to spread germs now that they’re back at school.

10. Get your vaccinations

If you want to top up your level of protection against the flu and COVID-19, you should consider getting a flu jab and/or COVID-19 booster vaccine. These vaccinations are particularly crucial for elderly and immunocompromised people. Not only can getting these vaccinations protect you, but they can also protect those around you by reducing the spread of disease in your community.

11. Be careful on slippery surfaces

This may seem like obvious advice, but many people slip and fall each autumn and winter due to the wetter weather and flooding. In autumn, you’ll also find a lot of wet leaves on the ground, which can become very slippery and hazardous. Be careful when walking anywhere in the rain, and make sure you hold onto handrails whenever you go up or down outdoor steps. You could also walk with your hands free to brace yourself if you do accidentally slip and fall!

Autumn is a fantastic time of year, but don’t forget about the hazards it can bring. For more tips on keeping you, your family and your home safe throughout the year, visit the Simplisafe blog for expert home security advice.