11 Home Safety Hazards You Should Be Aware Of
To keep their homes safe and secure, all homeowners should be aware of the top safety hazards. Many home hazards are easy to spot, but some can go completely unseen. By staying up-to-date on unseen home hazards, people can prevent bodily harm and property damage. Installing preventative safety measures not only makes a home safer, but they are also home improvement projects with a strong ROI. Read on to learn about 11 common safety hazards and how to prevent them.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted, but it kills more than 50 Canadians every year and sends hundreds to the hospital. The only way to recognize its presence is with a carbon monoxide detector. A carbon monoxide detector should be installed between one and two metres above the ground. Additionally, the batteries should be checked frequently. Functional carbon monoxide detectors are cheap to install and can prevent a plethora of unwanted expenses.
Stop Mould Growth Before It Starts
Mould is more than an annoyance that causes an allergic reaction. For some people, it leads to persistent conditions such as lung infections. To prevent mould, keep humidity low, ensure air can flow freely throughout the house, and repair any damage to the walls that can expose the home to outdoor elements. When painting, put down a mould inhibitor first. If you see mould, remove it with soap and water or a mild bleach solution. Severe mould growth should be found during a home inspection.
Keep Walkways Free of Clutter
If toys, games and sports gear are scattered, somebody could trip, fall, and seriously injure themselves. Still have unpacked boxes from a recent move? The surplus of cardboard is a fire hazard and can also attract varmints. Take time to sort through unused items and decide what could be kept, donated, or thrown away. Reducing clutter makes the home safer and overall easier to live in.
Stairways Should Be Clear At All Times
Adults can fall down the stairs as well as children. If there's carpet, keep it secure, as folds in the material could cause people to trip. Make sure handrails are solid. If the handrails become loose, people with minimal DIY experience can tighten the screws to make them safer. Stairways should always be well-lit, so make sure there are optimal overhead lighting and night lights if needed. Safety gates are ideal in homes with children, and no one should ever leave any items blocking the stairs.
Prevent Slips in Bathtubs and Showers
Falling on the living room floor is no fun, but falling in a bathtub is worse. Use a no-slip safety tread and install handrails in the bathroom if there are older adults. A wall-mounted soap dispenser eliminates the risk of falling when reach down for a dropped bar. To be extra safe, implement a plan for if a bathroom fall happens. It could be as simple as keeping a cellphone on the counter while using the shower or bathtub.
Never Neglect Fire Safety
Smoke alarms are critical, but fire safety doesn't stop there. Have a fire extinguisher charged and in a convenient place, and make sure everyone knows how to use it. All members of the household should agree on a fire safety plan. This way, in the unfortunate event of a fire, everyone knows what to do and where to meet.
Watch Out For Electrical Hazards
Most people with children living in their household know to use outlet covers in unoccupied sockets. However, electrical safety can be taken a step further by following the "one socket, one plug" rule. Instead of plugging appliances into each socket on the wall, opt for a power strip. Also, an extension cord is meant for temporary use. It should not be part of a permanent electrical arrangement. Some energy-efficient upgrades are safer than the old-fashioned electrical arrangements, too.
Keep Sharp Objects Out of Reach
Knives aren't the only dangerous sharp objects in a household. Peelers, graters, and other kitchen tools can have sharp edges and should be stored away from children. That said, sharp objects aren't only found in the kitchen. Razors and razor blades must be secure in the bathroom. Make sure garden tools such as hedge trimmers and grass clippers are properly stored so that children won't mistake them for a toy.
Know About Toxic Substances
Not every toxic substance comes with a yucky face on its label. Household cleaners, prescription, non-prescription drugs, and even paint can be harmful if ingested. Also, be careful with houseplants. Some common houseplants can be hazardous to cats and other house pets. Keep the Ontario Poison Control Centre phone number readily available in the event of an emergency.
Look Out For Choking Hazards
Toys and small objects are a risk, but the leading cause of toddler choking is food. Even corn kernels, uncut cherry tomatoes, and large chunks of raw vegetables are hazards. When in doubt, cut it smaller. As an added precaution, all members of the household could learn about the Heimlich maneuver together.
Secure Furniture Before It Falls
Tall, narrow bookcases and chests are the most likely pieces of furniture to fall, but any storage furniture can tip, especially if the weight is on the top drawers or shelves. Some furniture items come with wall anchors. For older pieces, wall anchors and other materials need to secure the piece can be purchased at a local hardware store.
Prevention Is The Best Protection From Household Hazards
Most household accidents are preventable. Take a quick walk around your home to check for these and other safety hazards. There's peace of mind when you've done what you can to foil mishaps.