Safety Hazards You're Overlooking Safety Hazards You're Overlooking

Think your home is a safe haven for you and your family? Well, you may want to think again. Although we don't want to think of our homes as scary and dangerous, the truth is that all of us have at least a few common safety hazards in our home. Some of them are quite obvious, while others may surprise you.

Luckily for you, we're all about safety here. And, since June is National Safety Month, we've put together a little list of some of the most commonly overlooked indoor safety hazards that could be lurking in your home.

Cleaning Products

Any parent can tell you that cleaning products are at the top of the list for indoor safety hazards. Nearly all cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that can be very dangerous to children and pets. When my children were little, I kept my cleaning products on a high shelf, but you can also lock your cleaning product cabinet.

Cleaning products can also be dangerous for adults, as well. To keep yourself safe, never mix cleaning products together and never remove the labels. Also, only use cleaning products in well-ventilated areas to minimize the risk of inhaling fumes. (Or, try your hand at making your own safe and green cleaning products)

Stairs

Your stairs can be one of the biggest indoor safety hazards in your home. A tumble down the stairs can cause serious injuries or even be fatal. The first step to prevent this is making sure that nothing is on your stairs that can be tripped over, such as toys.

Loose carpet should be tacked down securely on your stairs, and slippery surfaces, such as polished wood, should be covered with non-slip rubber stair pads or anti-skid sealer. You should also make sure that your banister and handrail is secure and comfortable, as well as make sure that your stairs are well lit during both the day and night.

Tall Furniture

You may not realize it as you look around your living room or office, but that tall piece of furniture that dominates your wall can also be an indoor safety hazard. One hard bump, tug, or push can send entertainment centers, bookcases, and other tall furniture crashing to the ground, seriously injuring someone in the process.

Tall furniture in your home should be secured to the wall. You may be able to screw some pieces of furniture right to the wall, but most will need to be secured with brackets or seismic straps. If your walls are plaster or drywall, a long decking screw into a wood stud should do the trick. If you have masonry walls, however, be sure to use a special masonry screw.

Dryers

Clothes dryers are responsible for causing thousands or fires and millions of dollars in damage every year in the United States. These fires are caused by improper installation, use, maintenance, and cleaning.

First of all, dryers must be properly vented outside and gas lines should be installed by professionals. To prevent dryer fires, avoid using it to dry materials that have been soiled by flammable liquids, such as gasoline or oil. Clean the lint trap every time you use the dryer, and routinely check the exhaust hose for blockages.

Floors

Safety hazards aren't just present on stairs, but on any floor. To prevent trips and falls, be sure to keep your floors neat and clear of items such as toys, clothes, and books. Spills should also be wiped up immediately, since these can result in slips and falls.

Loose or damaged carpet, tiles, or linoleum should be replaced or repaired since they present a tripping hazard. Area rugs should also be tacked or taped down to prevent trips and falls. Slippery bathroom floors should also be covered with bath mats or rugs with rubber backings.

Refrigerators

The most common appliances in most homes are also some of the most commonly overlooked indoor safety hazards as well. Refrigerators can pose a danger to children who lean or hang on the doors, since this can cause them to tip over. To prevent children from becoming trapped inside them, you should also remove the door from any refrigerators or freezers that you discard.

Food borne pathogens, such as E. Coli and Salmonella, can also lurk in your refrigerator. To keep these germs at bay, monitor the temperature inside your refrigerator and make sure that it stays below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Regularly cleaning your refrigerator can also help prevent the growth of Listeria, a bacteria that the Food and Drug Administration says can survive even in refrigerator temperatures. Make cleaning your refrigerator part of your weekly grocery routine, and aim to give your refrigerator a thorough cleaning and disinfecting every few months.

Unregistered Products

If you're anything like me, you're probably tempted to toss those registration cards that come with many of the products that you purchase. However, you may want to think again.

While it may seem like a waste of time, registering these products can help keep you and your family safe. When you register a product, whether it's an appliance or a child's toy, you are alerting the company that you own it. So, if there is ever a recall on the product due to potential safety hazards, you will be one of the first consumers to know.

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