4 Common Home Safety Hazards and How to Resolve Them
Most homeowners strive to protect their loved ones and guests from injury, but unfortunately, home-related accidents are common. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 131,400 preventable injury-related deaths occurred at home and in communities during 2019.
No one wants anyone to become injured at home, but realistically, accidents happen, many of them caused by common safety hazards that are inadvertently overlooked. To avoid injuries in the home, here are four common safety issues all homeowners should seek to rectify.
Clear Out Trip Hazards
Falls are the number one cause of injuries and are the top common household hazard. When considering the different ways people can slip or trip in both indoor and outdoor spaces, chances are, homeowners will find numerous different types of hazards.
Most of the top indoor slip and trip hazards are easily rectified. These include wet floors, slippery stairs, unsecured steps (e.g., no safety gates), loose steps, slippery tubs, scattered toys, and other items. Other potential hazards include laundry baskets left on the floor or vacuums left plugged in with the cord stretched across the floor. Theoretically, any item left behind can quickly create a dangerous situation.
Like indoor tripping hazards, outdoor stairways and walkways should also be cleared of any debris or items left behind. Decluttering outdoor areas is also one of the inexpensive ways to increase curb appeal. Snow and ice are persistent outdoor winter hazards in many regions. Aside from routine snow and ice removal, check areas that could lead to icy conditions, such as dripping gutters on walkways or ice dams.
Poor lighting or no lighting can cause an accident indoors or outdoors, especially on stairways. Homeowners can avoid these accidents by installing sensor lights that switch on when people approach and convert to LED lighting, which is much brighter.
The CDC consistently identifies falls as the primary reason people seek ER treatment. Slippery surfaces, instability issues, and items left on the floor are three commonly overlooked slip and trip hazards. Actively seeking out these and other problematic areas can go a long way towards reducing injuries.
Prevention Eliminates Fire Hazards
Every year hundreds of thousands of house fires erupt in the U.S., and, tragically, many of them result in severe injury or death. Eliminating many problematic issues that cause fire hazards will go a long way towards fire prevention. Top causes of fires include:
- Unattended cooking
- Smoking in bedrooms or improper disposal of butts
- Candles left unattended or placed too close to flammable items
- Lamps, appliances, and extension cords that are damaged or frayed
- Clogged clothes dryer ducts
- Outdated electrical systems
Most fatal fires occur at night when people are sleeping and are less likely to notice a fire has started. To increase the home safety factor, go through the house and ensure enough alarms are installed, and all work correctly. Following a fire safety prevention checklist can stop fires before they start.
Watch Out For Choking and Strangling Hazards
Choking is the fourth-largest cause of accidental deaths in the U.S., especially where young children are concerned. Too-small objects left within a child's reach can cause them serious injury or worse. Another issue to rectify is the cords of window blinds; the dangling strings can create a strangling hazard, so tucking the cords out of reach or buying cordless blinds instead is a good idea. Keeping an eye out for these and similar hazards is an essential part of protecting small children and pets.
Properly Store & Dispose of Sharp Items
People are often surprised to learn how many everyday items they use in the home can cause severe cuts and lacerations. Everyday items inside the home include bathroom sharps and kitchen knives, along with broken glass and sharp items thrown in the trash. To raise the safety factor, stash sharps out of children's reach, carefully store kitchen knives facing down, and be cautious when disposing of sharp items such as the lids of aluminum cans or broken glass.
Identifying Hazards Creates Peace of Mind
Household safety starts with becoming aware of potentially dangerous situations. Going through the house room by room and examining the outdoors to fix any potential hazards can go a long way towards accident prevention. When it comes to maximizing resale value, eliminating potential hazards is as important as implementing high-ROI home upgrades. But more than anything, the goal of learning about home hazards is to enjoy increased safety and peace of mind for years to come.