8 Common Home Safety Hazards and How to Resolve Them

What are Common Hazards Found in Homes?In order to ensure a safe home, it is important to be aware of the common home safety hazards that may lurk there. These are dangers that can occur in any home, regardless of whether it is new or old, large or small. By reading on, becoming aware of these potential problems, and taking steps to prevent them, homeowners can help ensure the safety of their homes and everyone who lives in them.

Household Fires

One of the most common home safety hazards is a household fire. A fire can start for any number of reasons, such as a spark from a stovetop, a lit candle that falls over, or an electrical short. To help prevent fires from happening in your home, be sure to keep flammable materials like paper, curtains, and furniture away from heat sources like stoves and fireplaces. Make sure to keep smoke detectors in working order and have an escape plan in case of a fire.

When a fire starts in a house, it is important to remain calm and take action quickly. If able to do so safely, try to put out the fire with an extinguisher or bucket of water (though be sure not to do this with a grease fire—grease fires require different methods to put out). If the fire can't be put out, evacuate the house immediately and call the fire department.

Slips and Falls

Another common home safety hazard is slips and falls. These can happen anywhere in the home but are most common in kitchens, bathrooms, and stairways. To help prevent slips and falls, be sure to keep floors clean and dry, and use nonskid mats in the bathroom. Keep stairways clear of clutter, and install handrails or grab bars if necessary.

Chemicals

Many chemicals found in the home can be dangerous if not handled correctly. These include cleaning products, paint fumes, and pesticides. To avoid exposure to these chemicals, always read the labels on products and follow the instructions. If possible, homeowners may want to use natural cleaning products and pest control methods.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly if inhaled. It can be caused by any device that burns fuel, such as a furnace, car, or stove. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure all fuel-burning devices are properly vented and maintained. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and never use portable generators indoors. Some smoke detectors come with their own carbon monoxide detectors, including versions that can integrate into smart home upgrades.

Strangulation

Strangulation can occur when a person or pet gets their head caught in an opening, such as between the bars of a crib or between a gate and a wall. To help prevent strangulation, be sure to keep all openings like this securely closed. Also, be sure to keep cords and cables out of reach of children and pets.

Cuts and Lacerations

Another incredibly common injury in the home is a cut or laceration. These can occur from any number of things, such as knives, glassware, and tools like saws or scissors. To help prevent cuts and lacerations, be sure to keep sharp objects out of reach of children and always use appropriate caution when handling glassware and knives. 

If glass breaks in a house, it can create a dangerous situation. Here's how to dispose of broken glass:

  • Wear puncture-proof gloves and shoes if available
  • Pick up the largest pieces, being careful not to touch the sharp edges
  • Sweep up any remaining glass shards with a dustpan and finish by vacuuming
  • Put the glass shards in an empty cardboard box, tape it shut, and label it
  • Place the box in the trash for pickup

Choking

Choking can be caused by anything that can fit into a person's mouth and block their airway, such as small toys, coins, or food. To help prevent choking, be sure to keep small objects out of reach of children and never give a child under the age of four anything non-edible that can fit into their mouth.

If someone is choking, you can help them by performing the Heimlich maneuver, if trained to do so. Otherwise, call 911 immediately.

Electrocution

Electrocution can occur when someone comes into contact with an electrical current. This can happen by touching an electrical appliance with wet hands, sticking metal objects into an outlet, or stepping on a power cord. 

To help prevent electrocution, always use caution when handling appliances and cords, never overload outlets, and keep outlets covered with safety caps. If an appliance smells strange or makes concerning noises, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced. When buying a home, make sure to get a home inspection that covers the home's electrical wiring and makes sure it's up to code.

Stay Safe in Your Home

While these are just a few safety hazards homeowners may encounter, by being aware of them and taking precautions, homeowners can protect themselves, their belongings, and their families from harm.

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