The rate of preventable injury-related deaths in and around the home has increased by 272% since 1999, erasing the progress achieved over the last century. In 2020, home-related deaths totaled 113,500, with the increase in fatalities primarily driven by increased unintentional falls and poisonings.
Consider prioritizing a safe environment for your loved ones to grow and thrive in. Familiarizing yourself with the common safety hazards to look out for around your home is the initial step toward preventing them. This article outlines nine safety hazards to watch around the house.
Homeowners currently depend on electricity in their daily lives, meaning there are possibly threatening electrical safety hazards in each home. Defective electric wires and poor wiring increase the risk of power surges, fires, and other severe consequences. Electrical outlets in kitchens, bathrooms and other near-water areas installed at an unsafe distance can be dangerous because water conducts electricity, increasing the chances of electric shocks. Heavily covered electrical wires and cords overheat because they radiate heat, causing electrical fires.
Handling the electrical appliances in your home with wet hands boosts electrical shock risks. Ensure your hands are always dry before touching them. Unprotected electrical outlets are a safety hazard for curious kids, and this may result in death or severe injuries. Consider collaborating with reputable electrical companies with professional electricians such as Grand Wall Electric to get a home electrical inspection done to rule out the risk of safety hazards, identify others, and fix them.
While home fires can be life-threatening, most of them are preventable. Common causes of house fires include cooking equipment, heaters, cigarette smoking, electrical equipment, unattended candles, curious kids, faulty wiring, barbeques, flammable liquids, and lighting. To reduce the risk of fire hazards in your home, install and regularly maintain smoke detectors, familiarize yourself with kitchen fire risks, ensure safe home heating equipment usage, practice appliance maintenance, inspect and repair outlets and electronics, establish an emergency escape plan, reduce flammable clutter, get loose or frayed electrical wires fixed, and avoid neglecting backyards, basements, and all storage areas.
Slip And Fall Hazards
Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide. Home fall hazards may be caused by loose rugs, unsecured wires, water puddles, unstable furniture, unrepaired driveway cracks, ice, poor lighting, toys and other items on the floor, wires, and cords strung in walkways, and more. However, these falls are preventable. You can install solid handrails to stabilize staircases, securely affix floors, ensure adequate lighting, and install safety gates if you have young kids.
Practice outdoor clearing steps by sweeping regularly and clearing ice quickly. Use grip tape or secure your mats to reduce traction. Consider securing bathrooms by not allowing water to pool and create slick surfaces. Buy non-slip stickers to avoid tub or shower falls and install grab bars for ease of getting in and out. Toys can also be a fall hazard if left on the floor, so keep them securely.
Multiple household products, including maintenance and cleaning supplies, petrol, and medications, carry poisoning risks. Locking such products away ensures they’re out of children’s reach, reducing their chances of accidentally ingesting them. Avoid using bottles that can get mistaken for a drink when keeping these supplies. Carbon monoxide is another home poisoning hazard. It happens in residences with appliances that rely on fossil fuels like gas. It’s difficult to detect because it’s tasteless, colorless, non-irritating, and odorless.
Blocked chimneys, furnaces or boilers, exhaust fumes, portable heaters, clothes dryers, fireplaces, water heaters, grills, and barbecues are the most common carbon monoxide source. To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector and ensuring it’s functional, service your appliances regularly, sweep chimneys, and keep air vents, grilles, and flues clear to ensure sufficient ventilation.
Strangulation And Choking
Small toys and cords are a significant safety hazard as they may cause strangulation and choking, resulting in death by suffocation. Consider buying age-appropriate toys to prevent this risk. Food also presents a choking threat, especially in children. Cut foods into smaller pieces and ensure they’re soft enough to avoid choking. When serving food, pair it with non-alcoholic drinks to moisten the food.
When water condenses on window frames, walls, and other surfaces, mold grows. This may cause mold allergies, whose symptoms may include itchy eyes, headaches, and sneezing. Besides mold spores, allergies may also be triggered by dust mites, cockroaches, and pet dander. You can allergy-proof your home to make it more comfortable.
Removing condensation from surfaces around your home, especially damp areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. You should also keep your air vents clear and clean, create a clean living environment, reduce irritants and allergens, remove unpleasant odors, and boost airflow efficiency. This improves indoor air quality and reduces the risk of respiratory diseases.
Falling Objects And Tip-Overs
Approximately 25,500 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with furniture, appliance, or television tip-over between 2017 and 2019. Kids are at a higher tip-over injury risk, with most fatal incidents and injuries involving children below six years. You can avoid these hazards by putting your television on low and stable furniture suitable for its size and weight or attaching the TV to a stand if possible. Keep heavier items on lower shelves or drawers to lessen tip-over risks. You should also teach your kids not to hang or climb on appliances or furniture.
Cuts are a common home safety hazard because there are many things with sharp edges used outside and inside your home. To reduce the risks associated with sharp objects, securely store kitchen tools, including graters, peelers, and knives, where kids can’t reach them. Keep yard tools, such as saws, rakes, and others, locked away in a garage or shade where your little ones can’t access them. The sharp edges of open trash cans also cause cuts, so try shifting to locking garbage cans to protect pets and your loved ones.
Drowning is the most common reason for unintentional injury death, with bathtubs being the most common drowning site for those with seizure disorders. Try avoiding bathtubs if you suffer from this condition. Keep your buckets empty and far from water sources, and attend to bathing kids to reduce drowning risks.
Home safety hazards can cause severe injuries or death. Watch for these safety hazards in your home to protect yourself and your loved ones.