14 Home Hazards You’ll Regret Ignoring
Yikes! We bet you probably never thought much about these common, everyday hazards creeping up in your life.
Ditch the clutter, especially on stairs
Nearly half of all falling deaths occur on steps and stairways. Keeping the steps clutter-free seems obvious, but take a look at your own steps (especially those leading down to the basement). Who hasn’t set something on the top step “temporarily” with a plan to take it down on the next trip? It’s easy to use the steps as semipermanent storage, but it’s a very dangerous habit. Odds are that eventually, someone is going to trip over something and break an arm or leg (or neck). Don’t set anything on the steps. Ever. Find clever ways to banish clutter with these storage hacks.
Make windows safe for kids
Each year in the United States nearly 15,000 children are injured because of falls from windows. Window screens are not strong enough to prevent falls. In rooms on upper floors, install window guards with quick-release mechanisms (in case of fire) to prevent windows from opening more than a few inches. And keep furniture away from windows so kids aren’t tempted to climb near them. Window guards are available from safebeginnings.com and other online retailers, home centers, and department stores.
Use a wall-mount soap dispenser
The bathroom can be a hazardous place for everyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries around the tub or shower are actually most common among those ages 15 to 24. Believe it or not, many bath falls are caused by reaching for dropped soap! So do two things—use a slip-proof bath mat and install a wall-mounted soap and shampoo dispenser. There are many different models available, and most install quickly with adhesive strips and silicone glue. Take a look at these things you should get rid of in your bathroom right now.
If you don’t think that furniture tipping over is a danger you have to worry about, learn of the numbers, and you’ll think twice when someone warns you of the dangers. Every year, thousands of children are injured by furniture tipping over. Every two weeks, a child is killed by a tip-over. The stats, which come from the Consumer Reports (CR) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, reveal there were 195 deaths caused by tip-overs between 2000 and 2016. CR also reported that in 2016, 2,800 incidents of injury to children from a falling piece of furniture occurred—a 33 percent spike from 2015. Dresser tip-overs are the biggest culprit, with children pulling out dresser drawers to climb on them. Even the sturdiest dressers can fall forward.
Potential gas water heater fire
Clothes piled too close to a gas water heater can ignite when the water heater comes on. The protective doors for the gas burners are missing. Appliances (clothes dryers and gas water heaters) cause 7 percent of home fires and 4 percent of deaths. After problems with stoves and heaters, the biggest culprits in appliance fires are lint in dryers and combustibles near gas water heaters. Find out the average life span of appliances in your home.
The old wiring of antique appliances makes them a safety risk because the wiring dries and becomes brittle, which could fuel a fire. For those who especially love shopping for vintage light fixtures, it’s imperative to know how old the wiring is, if the wiring has been replaced, and whether the wiring is European or from the United States. Look for a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) label somewhere on the wiring for a quick reference to see if it’s safe. UL tests lighting fixtures for safety. These are the 35 things every homeowner should be aware of.
Every year, nearly 25,000 dryer fires cause millions of dollars in damage and hundreds of injuries, some fatal. Dryer fires start when built-up lint near the motor, gas burners, or heating elements catches on fire. This fire can then spread to ignite lint in the vent pipe. Remember these little things that could be making your home a fire hazard.
The constant movement of loose electrical outlets can loosen the wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing. Luckily, the fix is simple. Find out the hidden dangers in your home you should never ignore.
It should go without saying that paper is a huge contributor to home fires, but it’s the location of those papers that people don’t pay close enough attention to at home. Newspaper in the garage near the gas tank for the lawnmower is a common ignition source.
While errant papers may seem like an obvious source of home fires, you may be surprised to discover another potential fire starter—mirrors. That’s right, mirrors can reflect the sun, concentrating it on a particular spot, making it a fire hazard. Magnifying makeup mirrors are particularly dangerous. Keep your mirrors away from windows and out of direct sunlight, if possible.
Install low-pile carpet
Thick carpet pile over a thick pad is the worst for anyone who is unstable walking—it increases the likelihood of tripping and falling. It also makes it more difficult to push and maneuver wheelchairs and walkers. To make getting around easier, consider installing a low-profile commercial-grade “level loop” or “cut pile” carpet with a pile height of no more than 1/2 in. and a 1/4-in. (10-lb. density) pad. Check out these home maintenance tips you need in your life.
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, TV tip-overs cause the most injuries for children 10 years old and younger. Televisions sitting on a console or a desk can easily tip over and cause injury. And just because your TV is wall-mounted doesn’t mean you’ve evaded this issue; if it’s not anchored correctly it can cause just as much damage. Make sure that, just like your bookshelves, your television sets are all appropriately anchored to ensure they stay in one place.
Exercise equipment—and their power cords—can be unexpected household hazards. In fact, exercise machines like treadmills and stationary bikes injure more than 25,000 children each year, says CNN. And many of those injuries are related to the power cords of the machines. They can cause tripping and electrical burns, and, for children, can be a strangulation danger. Keeping children out of rooms with such equipment is key, and make sure to unplug the machines and keep the cords safely stowed away when you can.
Poisonous house plants
As common as these plants are, certain varieties of lilies, ivies, and other houseplants can be harmful to pets or humans, or both. Stay aware of which plants have the potential to be dangerous, and be sure to keep them out of reach. That way you can take advantage of the benefits of having plants, like air purification and visual interest. These low-light houseplant options make it easy to keep them alive, even if you have to tuck them away from pets or kids.
- United States Consumer Product Safety Commission: “One child dies every two weeks: tipover dangers”
- Consumer Reports: “Furniture tip-overs: A hidden hazard in your home”
- Family Handyman: “Repair electrical outlets: fix loose outlets”
- Family Handyman: “How to store gasoline”
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital: “Furniture tip-overs”
- CNN: “Be aware of hidden household hazards”