How to eliminate common household hazards

Our homes are meant to be safe havens from the outside world. However, there can be a number of hidden hazards around the home that can endanger family and friends. The following are four of the most common household hazards – and how to eliminate them from your home.

1. Falls
Injuries from falls are one of the most common household hazards; while no one wants to trip down a flip of stairs, falling can be particularly dangerous to older adults. In fact, one out of five older adults who fall will either break a bone or suffer a head injury.

Unsafe stairs, wet floors, or toys scattered on the floor are common causes of falls. Ensure staircases have solid handrails, adequate lighting, and have smooth floor coverings without lumps or bumps. Place non-slip pads under rugs, mats, and floor runners to prevent shifting. Lastly, keep clutter off the floor by investing in stylish, functional storage solutions such as bins or ottomans with hidden storage.

2. Fires
There are more than 300,000 residential fires in the United States each year, causing harm that ranges from minor smoke damage to total destruction of property – and even loss of life. Fireplaces, candles, unattended irons, or appliance short-circuiting can all lead to accidental fires.

Protect your family against the risk of fire by installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the home. These fire alarms should be installed on every floor of the home, as well as outside sleeping areas; test batteries every 6 months and replace the alarms every 7-10 years to ensure they’re in line with modern safety standards. Likewise, purchase a fire extinguisher and keep it near the kitchen or fireplace.

3. Choking
While choking may seem like a problem that only affects small children, it’s a hazard in every home. In fact, choking is the fourth-largest cause of accidental death in the United States. Reduce the chance of a family member choking by inspecting toys for any small parts that could come loose, keeping hard nuts or candies out of the reach of children, and ensuring all members of the family – including adults – cut their food into appropriate-sized pieces.

4. Poisoning
Each year there are more than two million poisoning incident reports to poison control centers nationwide. Chemicals, cleaning supplies, and even prescribed medications are all poisoning hazards. Reduce the risk of someone becoming a victim of poisoning by storing hazardous products and materials out of reach. Solutions like locking medicine cabinets can keep medications out of the reach of children. Likewise, keep chemicals secure by storing them in a high cupboard, behind a child lock, or in a place where neither children nor pets can access them.

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