Most people feel safest when surrounded by the walls of their own homes. But there may be dangers lurking that you didn’t realize existed! Not only are these a danger to you and your family, but they can hurt other people.
Imagine the following scenario: You’ve been meaning to replace the rickety stair rail on your front porch, but you’ve never gotten around to it. One day, your elderly next-door neighbor drops by, and as she grabs the rail to steady herself, it gives way. She falls and breaks her hip.
Not only do you feel terrible that this happened, but now she’s rightfully suing you for a personal injury caused by your own negligence.
You can avoid similar situations by simply attending to basic safety hazards around the house. Here’s what you need to do.
- Unsafe Staircases
Our imaginary scenario partially covered this one, but rickety or missing stair rails aren’t the only problems with staircases. Missing safety gates, poor lighting, broken boards, nails sticking up, and other issues with your staircase can also lead to a fall.
This is a more serious situation than you might realize, since falls are the leading cause of death for home accidents. The elderly and infants are the most common victims, and falls can often be easily prevented with basic safety measures.
- Electrical Fire
Outdated wiring and other electrical issues can cause a fire that causes a home to burn to the ground. There are an estimated 51,000 electrical home fires each year, resulting in 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion worth of property damage, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
If you haven’t already, have an electrician inspect your electrical system for potential problems, and have issues repaired immediately. Your insurance may foot the bill in some cases.
Also, install smoke detectors, use surge protectors, and install light bulbs with the proper wattage. Have at least one fire extinguisher on every level of the home. These simple steps could one day save your life.
Typically, young children are the most common victims of poison-related fatalities. Household chemicals can be deadly if ingested, and this leads to nearly 65,000 deaths every year in the United States.
You can avoid these fatalities simply by locking up paint, pesticides, cleaning products, and other harmful substances. Always keep a close eye on children, and never leave containers unmarked. Have the Poison Control Center number handy in case of an emergency.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that’s lethal if breathed in. It’s a silent killer, and if it occurs in your home, you’re likely to pass out before you can get help—and then it’s too late.
The best way to detect carbon monoxide in your house is with a carbon monoxide detector. These handy devices should be installed on every level of the home and tested regularly. They will alert you of any unsafe carbon monoxide levels in your home before it’s too late.
- Window Treatment Cords
Many parents are oblivious to the incredible dangers of cords on window treatments. Curious children may play with these cords and end up entangled in them, potentially choking them.
NPR reports that one in eight children become entangled in cords, and two-thirds of those children die from the incident. Pets often become entangled and injured in cords as well.
To prevent this from occurring in your home, consider replacing your window treatments with a safer alternative, like cordless blinds or drapes. You can also use hooks to store cords away from the ground.
- Swimming Pools
A little over 10 million homeowners have a swimming pool in their backyards, whether it’s in-ground or an inflatable kiddie pool. These pools provide a great place to play for kids and a welcome release from the heat, but they’re also very dangerous.
Drowning risks are higher in residential pools where there’s no lifeguard on duty. Children may fall or wander too far into an unattended pool and be unable to swim to safety.
It’s essential that you take proper safety precautions if you’re a pool owner. Safety fences and gates can prevent accidental drowning, and swimming lessons for your kids may save their lives.