How to Identify and Secure 4 Hidden Hazards Around Your Home
Homes often contain many hidden hazards, so it's important for owners to learn how to identify and remedy them. The following information examines four common home hazards and offers solutions on how to fix them.
Falls consistently top the list of the biggest hidden household hazards. Slippery surfaces, objects on the floor, and instability associated with staircases are three of the most common causes.
Loose handrails should be tightened and secured. Homeowners should install safety gates to protect small children from stairways and other areas and apply non-stick treads on uncarpeted steps. Additionally, homeowners should remove all trip hazards from floors, including toys, exercise equipment, and any other items used in common areas. Rugs with non-slip padding prevent slippery floor conditions, while spaces along interior hallways and stairways and outdoors should always be well-lit.
The CDC consistently lists falls as one of the top reasons people need ER visits. One of every five falls results in serious injury, according to statistics. Preventing common types of falls will protect everyone in the home.
In 2018, more than two million poisoning incidents were reported to poison control centers in the U.S. Common household items, including cleaning products, home maintenance, and medications, can cause household poisoning accidents. To prevent these hazards:
- Install child locks on all cabinets and drawers.
- Ensure medications are out of the reach of children.
- Use marked pill-counting containers.
- Dispose of unused or expired medications.
Curious pets may also ingest poisonous substances. Keep this in mind when storing hazardous household materials.
Fire and Carbon Monoxide
Every year, hundreds of thousands of house fires and tens of thousands of accidental carbon monoxide poisonings occur in the U.S. Many of these accidents can be avoided by taking proactive prevention measures. As a bonus, some of these measures can also improve home energy efficiency.
Homeowners should never leave burning candles unattended and should set timers to blow them out. Additionally, there should be a designated smoking area with proper disposal containers. Unused appliances should not be plugged in, and homeowners should routinely check for frayed wires. They should periodically have a professional inspect household wiring, especially older wiring; sometimes switches, wires, and outlets need replacing or are not up to code.
Other common sources for house fires come from vents and ducts, so homeowners should regularly clean them for their clothes dryer. HVAC systems should also be cleaned and inspected every year.
Homeowners should install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in every bedroom and on every level of the house. Batteries need to be checked every month and changed annually (if not hardwired or packaged with a long-use lithium battery).
Most people don't realize how many everyday household items can cause severe lacerations. To avoid accidents that cause serious injury, ensure all sharp objects are safely stored or disposed of.
- Store kitchen knives and other sharp objects safely.
- Point knives and forks downward when loading the dishwasher.
- Lock up bathroom sharps (like razors) or keep them up high away from children.
- Keep the trash can closed and wrap up sharp cans or glass that will be recycled or thrown away.
Remember to keep outdoor areas safe as well. Safely store sharp garden tools and power tools in sheds or storage containers.
These are four common safety hazards hidden in the home. However, they're not the only hazards that exist. Home safety begins with awareness and vigilance. Knowing which hazards to identify, making routine inspections, and quickly fixing problems will go a long way towards accident prevention.