9 Hidden Safety Hazards To Watch Out For in Your Home
In a typical American house, most homeowners are proactive with taking the necessary precautions against home hazards. Electrical outlets are often covered, household cleaning supplies are kept in safe places, and smoke detectors are installed and maintained. People recognize the most basic household safety hazards and take care of them.
Still, other home safety hazards are equally dangerous yet less obvious. Moving to a new home? Understanding where to look for risks will help keep all members of the household safe. Keep reading to learn about nine hidden safety hazards that are easy to fix in your home.
Tipping Furniture: Secure It to the Wall
If a chest has sat against the wall for years and never moved, it's easy to assume it never will. However, all that's needed for a catastrophe is for a child to open drawers and start climbing on them. Install wall anchors, even if they didn't come with the furniture. Wall anchors bind the furniture with the drywall, making it impossible for them to tip. Anchors can be easily installed as a DIY project, but professional help can also be recruited.
Windows: Install Screens & Guards
Thousands of people are hurt in window falls every year. Installing window screens should be the first line of defense, but they're not a fail-proof method. If a child opens a window with a screen, they can still tear it and become at risk of falling. Window guards allow windows to be open only a few inches, allowing for a gentle breeze without the risk of injury. Also, climbable furniture should be at a distance from windows.
Faulty Wiring: Make Sure Your House Is Up to Code
In old houses, the wiring was often modified on the fly by people working with different conventions than modern electricians. If there's a mix of 2-prong and 3-prong outlets, it's a hint that wiring may not be up to code. Faulty wiring can not only blow circuits but can also start fires. It's worth the peace of mind to have a competent electrician check things out.
Another tip: don't overload your outlets by piggybacking several plugs into one socket. Use a power strip instead.
Dryer Traps and Vents: Clean Out Fire Risks
Does it take clothes too long to dry? Are they unusually hot after a cycle? That's a sign that there may be lint build-up in the trap or vent. Few things are more flammable than dryer lint. Clean the lint screen after every load and get the dryer vent cleaned annually, especially if it's a long one that winds to the roof. Opting for energy-efficient upgrades can reduce fire risks and save on utility costs.
Bathtubs and Showers: Reduces Risks For Slips and Falls
A bathtub should be a place to relax, not one to worry about falls. Always use a slip-proof mat if there's a shower. Handrails are essential for seniors and not a bad idea for younger people. Also, consider a wall-mounted soap dispenser so no one will risk a fall bending for a dropped bar.
Mold: Stop Growth Before it Starts
Mold is more than just an unsightly allergen. It can cause or aggravate asthma and lead to other respiratory problems. To thwart it, maintain low humidity, unrestricted airflow, and repair cracks in walls and windows. If you're painting your house soon, it's a good idea to use a mold inhibitor to stop growth before it starts. Bring in a professional if you see mold and can't get rid of it with soap or mild bleach.
Houseplants: Choose Non-Toxic Varieties
Houseplants are a great way to add natural colors and a relaxing ambiance to a room. However, certain plants can be toxic when ingested by children or pets. It's not just seasonal plants such as poinsettia that are dangerous. Seeming innocents such as daffodils and English ivy are hazardous as well. It's wise to do an online search before bringing home any new plant life.
Choking Hazards: Hard to See, Easy to Remove
Choking hazards, by their very nature, can be hard to spot. Buttons, small toys, and dust bunnies are all items that can be accidentally swallowed, especially in households with children or pets. Make sure batteries are stored out of reach, as they can cause additional health problems if they're swallowed. Even actual foods such as corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, and chunks of raw vegetables can pose a choking threat.
Tripping Risks: Declutter for Home Safety
A cluttered floor is an obvious problem, but debris isn't necessary to create a tripping danger. Loose area rugs can slide under an unsuspecting foot. Secure them with furniture or use a rug pad, which extends rug life in addition to helping them grip the floor. Even high pile carpet can be a hazard for unsteady adults or those who use walkers.
Reduce Risk, Increase Peace of Mind
If there's any place people want to be safe, it's in their own homes. Home safety isn't burdensome. It's a matter of knowing the potential hazards and taking practical steps to ensure hazards are out of the home. There's no need to live in fear, a little bit of prevention goes a long way when it comes to preventing injuries from hidden household hazards.