Keep Your Home Safe From These 8 Unexpected Hazards

dishwasher with plates and silverware

You may think you have a firm grasp on the potential safety hazards within your home, but there are more lurking out there than you may believe. Keep your home and family safe from even the most unexpected dangers by being well prepared.

1. Bags and Purses

Backpacks, purses, or luggage filled with items could pose a risk to your household, believe it or not. Many times, these items are stored on the floor, easily within the reach of children. These bags frequently contain hazardous items, such as makeup and cosmetics, perfume, medicines, and even things like pepper spray. If a child got their hands on these, they could ingest them. Move bags to a spot where they cannot be reached by children or keep them empty to avoid this risk.

2. Your Dishwasher

You may be aware that dishwashers are often cited as the number one source of household fires, as their filters can become clogged with crumbs and food particles, leading to a spark. These appliances pose other hazards to your home, too. Dishwashers can be easily opened and provide children access to sharp utensils like knives and forks. They also may be a gateway to detergent, which is poisonous when swallowed. Dishwashers also pose burn risks, as the end of the cycle presents a lot of hot steam.

Avoid putting detergent in your dishwasher before you’re going to run it and put sharp items on the top rack. Latch your dishwasher even when it’s not in use so kiddos can’t open it.

feet standing in soapy water

3. Soaps and Shampoos

Items like soap bars and shampoo bottles in your bathtub or shower can actually pose a safety threat. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that injuries in the tub or shower are most common from those aged 15 to 24. An abundance of falls in this area are caused by people reaching for dropped items. To avoid this hazard, install a slip proof bath mat and utilize wall-mounted soap and shampoo dispensers.

4. Toasters

A toaster poses a significant fire hazard in your household. This is because crumbs can accumulate at the bottom of the toaster after a number of uses. After the build up of enough crumbs, they could ignite on fire and start a fire. Dump loose crumbs from your toaster on a regular basis and be sure to unplug it after every use.

5. Corded Blinds

The cord that accompanies most blinds presents a risk to kids, as the cord could end up wrapped around their neck, posing a strangulation risk. While the best solution to this hazard is to install cordless blinds, this is a pricey option. Other measures to keep your kiddos safe from cords is to tie them up or place them on a hook too high for little ones to reach.

stack of old newspapers

6. Old Newspapers

Piles of newspapers are good to keep around for some light reading or to use in kindling a fire, but they could also pose a hazard to your home and family. Stacks of old newspapers are commonly cited as the culprit behind a house fire. If these are placed near a gas tank, vent, space heater, outlet, or other heat source, they can easily ignite and cause a fire. Recycle old newspapers in a timely manner or, at the least, store them safely away from anything that gets hot.

7. Hand-Me-Downs

It’s not uncommon for family members or friends to pass down items to kids younger than their own to be reused. While this is a great form of upcycling, it should be restricted mostly to clothes, shoes, and toys. Using outdated baby and kid equipment like high chairs, car seats, bouncers, and other items could mean that they're not current as far as safety standards go. This is particularly true for car seats, which have expiration dates and could have hard-to-see cracks that make them unsafe, likely from time in the sun or even a minor car accident.

8. Clutter

Especially on stairs, clutter can be very dangerous for all members of the family. As reported by Family Handyman, about half of falling deaths occur on the stairs. Keep stairs free of items, even if they’re just meant to be there temporarily. Leaving items there could lead to someone tripping and being seriously injured.

Unfortunately, home hazards lurk around every corner. Being aware of them helps you to combat them and to keep your household safe.