When was the last time you considered the hazards lurking around your own home? Even common household items, like cleaning solutions or scissors, can pose a risk to your family — especially if you have children or pets in your home. Taking the time to assess these hazards, however, can help you keep your family safe while minimizing your risk of an accident. Here are a few things to consider to make your home safer.
One of the most common household hazards is injury due to falls. According to the CDC, the number of injuries related to falls in older adults has increased by 30% since 2007. Falls can lead to broken bones, sprains, bruises and severe head injuries. To help minimize the risk of a fall in your home, here are a few things you can do:
- Ensure all staircases have solid handrails, safety gates if there are small children, stable steps and adequate lighting. Keep stairs clear of debris inside and outside the home including snow, ice, toys and other household objects.
- Place non-slip mats at every entrance of your house to keep water from getting tracked in. Secure bathroom rugs to avoid slipping on slick surfaces and add non-slip stickers to your shower floor. If you have a rug, make sure to place a non-slip pad under this to keep the rug secure and in place.
- Keep walkways clear of anything that could create a trip-risk. Consider things like cords from electronics and even upturned carpet corners.
- Pick up items off the floor and keep them in a safe place to avoid tripping. Provide a space for everyone in the family to easily store items such as toys, shoes, bags and books.
On average, there are over 355,000 household fires each year in the United States. From mild smoke to severe fire damage, fires pose a significant threat to anyone in the home. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help minimize your risk of a fire.
- Install fire alarms on all levels of your home and check the batteries twice a year. Smoke detectors should be replaced at least once every 10 years, or sooner if they are not working properly. You should get in the habit of checking smoke detectors once a month. If a smoke detector begins beeping and there is no fire, do NOT just disconnect it — instead, replace the detector so it is fully functioning.
- NEVER leave candles burning unattended. The same goes for any flame, including your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Minimize your risk of an electrical fire by never overloading your circuit. Even if you use a surge protector, you should minimize the number of appliances plugged in. Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use to avoid an electrical fire.
- Keep fire extinguishers handy throughout your home — consider having one near your kitchen, fireplace, or anywhere you’re more likely to have a lit flame.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Even small levels of exposure to carbon monoxide can cause headaches and dizziness, with high levels of exposure leading to even more serious symptoms. Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect as there are often no indications of exposure until someone has fallen ill. To help prevent carbon monoxide you can:
- Install a carbon monoxide detector to alert you to high levels in your home.
- Regularly have a licensed and insured professional check your HVAC, water heater and other appliances that use gas, oil or coal.
Even common household items can cause bodily injury. Anything from opening a can to arts and crafts projects using scissors can pose a risk, especially if you have children in your home. Though these kinds of injuries are one of the most common in the home, there are several ways to help prevent them:
- Store sharp appliances and kitchen tools securely and make sure they are out of reach of children.
- Keep yard tools safely in a garage or shed and NEVER leave them lying around in the yard.
- Keep trash cans locked with a secure lid.
- Install locks on any doors or drawers that may contain sharp objects such as scissors or knives.
- Keep electrical cords properly stored and out of reach of little ones to avoid getting tangled in cords or electrocution.
- Tie back any loose cords on windows to avoid accidental strangulation.
According to the U.S. Poison Control Center, there are over 2 million incidents of human poisoning in the U.S. annually, with personal cosmetic items and household cleaning supplies being the top two causes. One of the best ways to avoid an incident like this is to be aware of which substances are toxic and to be educated on proper storage of these items. A few ways to help avoid a poisoning incident include:
- Keep paint and other harsh chemicals out of reach of children and in a safe place away from any possible flames or high heat.
- Properly dispose of any unused medications or chemicals.
- Read the labels on chemicals and have a thorough understanding of which ones should never interact with one another.
- Put away all products when not in use including makeup, hair products, soap, etc.
- Lock any cabinets or closets that house dangerous products to keep children and pets from accessing them.
- Keep laundry detergent on a high shelf out of reach of children and make sure any bottles are secured tightly.
While you may think of drowning in relation to pools, lakes, or the ocean, drowning can also be a hazard in home bathtubs. Even small amounts of water can result in a drowning incident. To help minimize your risk:
- Never leave children in a bathtub alone as it only takes a few inches of water for a child or baby to drown.
- Empty any buckets of water you may have used for cleaning once you’re done.
- Install safety fences and alarms around backyard pools to make sure the pool is not used when there is no adult supervision available.
We hope these tips help you protect the ones you love. If you have more questions, however, we work with over 500 independent agents who are ready to help. Visit our website to find a local agent near you: bit.ly/QuincyFindAgent