This is part seven of 'How to choose a mobile home'.
Today's topic follows on from part 6: Ergonomics
but delves more into how safe it is to function in the mobile home space, and how easy it is to work with.
We all know from our homes, that if it isn't easy it isn't done. If everyone is able to move about freely and get to all the nooks and crannies then that takes the burden off those that otherwise would be left with the responsibility. Observe each person as they explore the mobile home and see what happens. Does Junior find a way to climb up on the hutch dresser due to it's position to the seating? Is there an overhead cupboard that catches an arm or donks a head when moving past it?
Take into account anyone with health or medical issues too. Are they able to grasp the door and cupboard knobs / handles to push / pull or twist them? Even gents with larger hands may find it challenging to open the diminutive push-to-unlock drawer knobs that commonly appear in motor-homes today.
- Is everything accessible to me (and my companions) on the inside and outside of the mobile home?
- Can I open all the doors?
- Can I reach the cupboards and storage spaces?
- Is everything easy to open and close?
- Can I get into bed without a problem?
- Can I open and close any skylight vents?
- Can I open overhead cupboards at the right angle for my hand/arm to be comfortable?
- Is it safe for all of us?
- Are there steps and rails?
- Is the bottom step a foldaway or a stool?
- Is there anything I could slip on?
- Is the bathroom floor safe when wet?
- Is what I need to stand on stable?
- Do the windows open with or without screens or stays?
- Do I have to reach across the stove to flick switches on and off?
- Do I hit my head on anything?
- Are the water and effluent tanks easy to access / fill / empty?
- Are there sharp corners or edges?
- Is the fuel inlet able to be accessed without undue bending or reaching?
- Are the outside lockers at the right height so I don't need to reach up too high or down too low? Can I get to the back of them?
- Can I use any vehicle levelling equipment (ie stabilising feet) without a hassle?
- Can I adapt something to make it work better for me/us?
What do we need for our mobile home to be accessible and safe?
The person who we are most concerned with is Kita, who loves to explore and understand the nature of physics first-hand. Screens on the windows or stays would be an advantage to stop him falling out. The older children should only need to be told once not to touch something or how to do a task for it to stick. Well that's the idea anyway!
For the adults in the home the head clearance would need to be around 6 foot 8 inches or approx 203cm (in case you were wondering a rule of thumb seems to be 8-12 inches taller than you are) .
While we are still young and nimble most of the reaching / bending / climbing considerations oughtn't be an issue, especially as we intend for this to be a short-term adventure and not a permanent living space. We would definitely be a little more thorough if we could foresee doing a second tour of New Zealand in the future or living in our mobile home full-time. It's just that we are so focused on just getting to live our first dream we haven't really contemplated beyond that. Perhaps it is a reminder to us that we should.
Above all we need for the area to be safe; ease would be nice but comes in at second.