12 Most Common Household Dangers
Accidents in the Home: What Are the Odds?
Your home is your safe place.
It’s hard to imagine that an accident could happen within the four walls of your home, the place where you eat, sleep, and spend time with family. But according to the CDC, accidents happen all the time.
To the tune of
emergency room visits for unintentional injuries per year.
These statistics certainly aren’t comforting, but there is more to the story. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Within this article, we’ll discuss the top dangers lurking in your home and what you can do to minimize accident risk.
Your home is where you spend the majority of your time, besides work or school. Young children under the age of five and elderly adults over age 65, especially over 75, are most likely to have an accident at home.
Falls are the leading cause of unintentional home injury death, resulting in roughly 6,000 fatalities per year. Falls in the home can be especially dangerous because they are sudden; falls at home can often be fatal since you are more likely to be alone.
falls are most likely to occur on home ramps, doorways, ladders, stairs, and uneven surfaces.
Statistically, accidents in the home most commonly happen in the living area. Accidents among children are more likely to affect boys than girls. Household falls are just one danger among many—an estimated 18,000 Americans die each year from injuries sustained in the home. The odds of dying from a fall at home involving furniture are one in 4,238.
What can be done to stop such senseless accidents?
Prevention is key. Taking basic precautions at home can help to reduce your risk of injury and make your home a safe place. Safety measures are even more important if you have children or pets.
If you haven’t safety-proofed your home yet, there’s no time like the present. Basic home safety precautions could save a life, or at the very least, save you an expensive hospital visit.
12 Most Common
Dangers in Your Home
A happy home is a healthy home. A healthy home is free from unnecessary hazards and toxins that could pose a danger to you and your family. Common household hazards are easy to overlook and may come with short-term to long-term risks.
You might have one of these 12 threats under your roof:
Within your home, carbon monoxide is truly the silent killer. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. It can cause death or serious injury if too much gas is inhaled, called carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide detectors are recommended on each floor of a house. If you experience sudden, severe headaches, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, or fainting spells at home, seek help right away. Get fresh air and visit an emergency room to determine if poisoning has occurred. These symptoms are often confused with the flu and can be deadly if a leak is not fixed.
Causes & Symptoms of Carbon monoxide poisoning
in your home
The concentration of Co & symptoms
Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
Slight headache in two to three hours
Slight headache in two to three hours; loss of judgement
Frontal headache within one to two hours
Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
Headache, dizziness, and nausea in five to ten minutes; death within 30 minutes
Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes
Unconsciousness after 2-3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes
Faulty or frayed wiring should always be taken seriously. Bad wiring can short and start a house fire in seconds. Watch out for warning signs, like flickering lights, blown fuses, and a quick tingle of shock when you touch an appliance or light switch.
Here’s a simple solution: Replace any appliances or electronics with worn, frayed cords. Update older circuit breakers with arc-fault circuit interrupters that shut down electricity in an emergency. Consult an electrician to replace household wiring that is more than 40 years old.
Fires are most likely to start in the kitchen, followed by the living room, bedroom, and storage areas. Common causes include unattended cooking, overloaded electrical wires, cigarettes, fireplace sparks, and old appliances. A full home inspection is recommended to manage fire hazards; test smoke alarms regularly and change batteries yearly.
Smoke Alarm Placement
Gas burners can be a source of carbon monoxide poisoning, and they may also contribute to indoor air pollution.
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory researchers discovered that
of California households use gas burners without vent range hoods in the winter.
This practice can result in poor indoor air quality, excess toxin exposure, and ultimately, breathing problems.
Pests in a home are not only unpleasant—they have been linked to serious health issues, especially among children.
Mice, rats, and accompanying fleas are capable of transmitting a number of diseases. Mice can trigger asthma in adults and children; rodent infestation can also transmit food-borne bacterial illness.
most common poison exposures for
young children and adults
national capital poison center, 2013
Children < 6 years (16.655 exposures)
|Cosmetics/personal care products||2,541|
|Plants and mushrooms||537|
Poisoning is a major household danger, especially among pets and children. 838 children ages 19 and under died from poisoning in 2011.
Salmonella is a common household bacterial illness that can spread when handling or eating contaminated raw foods, including poultry, eggs, beef, fruits, and vegetables.
The effects of salmonella poisoning can cause digestive disturbances in minor cases; in severe cases, salmonella contamination can lead to death by dehydration.
Radon gas is a natural radiation emitted by the earth that can compromise indoor air quality when trapped in a home. Radon gas is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium found in rocks and soil.
When trapped indoors, radon exposure is confirmed as the second-leading cause of lung cancer for smokers and the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. A home radon test is recommended to detect dangerous exposure levels.
To prevent a tip-over accident or death at home, large appliances and furniture should be anchored, such as bookshelves, entertainment centers, and TVs. This risk is especially dangerous to young children who are prone to climbing.
Flat screen TVs should be mounted per manufacturer recommendation; TVs should be placed as far back in an entertainment center as possible; large furniture should be attached to walls with L-brackets, safety straps, and other attachment devices.
5 Most Common
Household Dangers for Kids
All of the above dangers apply to kids, but some household hazards can be even more harmful to children:
Injury Rates among Children Ages 1-4
5 Must Read
for every pet owner
In a best-case scenario, your pet could become sick after eating the wrong food or digging in the trash. At the worst, a beloved pet could die after ingesting commercial insecticides or rodent poison. The American Humane Society confirms that beyond the obvious toxins, there are a number of household items that can prove lethal to pets.
Here are 5 must-read pet-proofing tips for every pet owner
As a pet owner, you may not think twice about the plants you have potted around the house. However, the AHA urges pet owners to research all indoor plants as many are poisonous to pets; specifically, plants in the hibiscus family can cause cardiac shock, irregular heartbeat, renal failure, and even death in animals.
It’s a well-known wives’ tale that cats are attracted to antifreeze. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol that has a sweet taste. Even when consumed in small amounts, antifreeze can be deadly to pets. It only takes one teaspoon to kill a 7 pound cat.
When dealing with mice in a home with pets, glue traps and live traps are recommended. It’s also important to discourage dogs and cats from eating outside rodents that may have been killed with poison; secondary poisoning can be deadly.
Medicinal pills, creams, and liquids should be kept in a locked medicine cabinet at all times, especially harsher drugs like painkillers. Animals can chew through packaging and ingest potentially lethal human medication.
If you’re looking for one good reason to wean your pet off table food, consider that many human foods are toxic to animals. The Pet Poison Helpline cites chocolate, sugar-free gum and candy, and grapes as the most toxic foods for dogs.
Never make a pet vomit at home without at least ringing and consulting with a vet clinic first.
At home vomiting can sometimes be unsafe for your pet. Also, a vet will be able to confirm that you are using the right emetic drug and dose.
- “Prevent Falls In and Outside of Your Home.” Safety at Home: Falls.
- Cox, Lauren. “5 Experts Answer: What Are the Most Dangerous Items in a Home?” LiveScience.
- “Home Gas Ranges Produce Toxic Gases, Lawrence Berkeley Lab Study Says.” San Jose Mercury News.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Website. Unintentional poisoning fatalities and injuries, children ages 19 and under.
- “Radon: A Danger in Your Home.” The Dr. Oz Show.
- “Pets & Poisons.” americanhumane.org.
- “Common Household Dangers for Pets: The Humane Society of the United States.”humanesociety.org.