By Alicia Grace

Home – a place of love, comfort, and safety; a place where magic happens! Our home is our heaven. We feel protected at our home. Despite, these facts there are various hazards that can take place at home.

Although people from every age group are susceptible to these hazards, new-borns and children until the age of four are most vulnerable to being injured in the home and backyard.  According to a World Health Organization report [1] on child health, 55% of unintentional child deaths and injuries occur at home.

So, here is a checklist of 9 Minor or MAJOR hazards that can occur at home that and ways to prevent them.

1. Falls

Falls are one of the most common household hazards. Don’t you see your child falling everytime she/he tries to run? Or while climbing up the stairs? Or trying to jump on the bed? You get the point, right?

In fact, almost one of every five children must have suffered from this kind of injury. Children falling from something high-up or falling on a very hard surface may incur a broken bone or a head injury. This may lead to a serious injury hampering lifetime activities or even death in extreme cases.

Wet floors, slippery stairs, and scattered toys are the common reasons which serve as a great potential for falls.

Preventive measures to be taken:

Staircases – a cause for concern.

Always make sure that all staircases have a solid handrail, dry flooring, adequate lighting, and safety gates. Especially if you have a child below the age of five.

Secure Bathrooms

Always place rough and secured rugs to avoid slipping and water pooling on slick surfaces. Never leave your child under the age of 9 years unattended in bathrooms.

Say no to Scattered Toys

Make sure you keep the skateboards, Legos, bikes, and other mobile toys back in their place after being used by your child. Kids often miss looking at an object lying around in their excitement to come running to you.

2. Burns

From overly hot utensils to tipped-over coffee cups, burns are a potential hazard for children in every home.

According to a study, burns (especially scalds from hot water and liquids) are some of the most common childhood accidents. Babies and young children are curious and inquisitive. Moreover, they have sensitive skin that needs extra protection from such accidents.

Preventive measures to be taken:

  • Always keep hot cups of coffee or hot water out of reach from children.
  • Never leave a lit candle, lighters or matchboxes unattended at your home.
  • Establish ‘no’ zones – Block entree to fireplaces, stoves, and
  • Make sure your child does not go near grills or campfires.

3. Electric Shocks

It is the third most common hazard, which is potentially present in almost every corner of your house. Children due to their inquisitive nature are at greatest risk of receiving serious or even deadly shocks.

Preventive measures to be taken:

  • Always remember to put child-safety covers on all electrical outlets when not in use.
  • Get rid of equipment and appliances with old or ragged cords.
  • Always bind excess cord from lamps or other electrical equipment with a twist-tie. This will prevent injury from chewing on cords. You can also use a holder or spool which are also available which are specially designed to hide extra cord.

4. Window Blind Cords

Known as silent killers, injuries and deaths from window cord strangulation are on a rise. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) [2] found window coverings with cords as one of the most prominent reasons for safety hazards in our homes.

The deaths have taken a high toll. In the study, it was found that every month a child is found dead between the age of 7 months to 10 years. The deaths are often quiet and quick in these cases.

  • It is recommended to use cordless window coverings if you have a child living with you.
  • Make sure you hide the loose cords or make them inaccessible.
  • Do not place loose furniture or beds near the window. Children can climb on them to touch the cords.
  • To keep children from getting tangled up, trim cords to a length.
  • You can also have a window without cords. If you like the look of blinds, or if you’re not ready to redecorate, wrap up the window blinds and coverings.

5. Poisoning

Common household chemicals like phenyl and medicines are one of the major cause of death among children under the age of five.

You can make a safe environment for your child by:

  • Removing potential poisons present in your house or hiding them in inaccessible places.
  • Keeping chemicals and medicines out of reach from children
  • Putting a child-safety latch on the doors of cupboards where these household poisons are stored.

6. Choking and suffocation

Many everyday items present in our homes could suffocate a child. Soft toys and bedding, boxes and packaging and even latex balloons can be considered as a source of potential choking hazard.

Here are some tips for prevention:

  • Keep soft toys, cushions, and piles of clothing out of cots and prams.
  • Don’t allow children below the age of 3 years to play with toys having small pieces.
  • Always tie knots in spare plastic bags, and keep them away from children.

7. Furniture Tip-over injuries

According to anchorit.gov [3], a child has to rush to the emergency room every 30 minutes because of tipped furniture. The shocking fact is a child dies, every 10 days, because of furniture, appliance or TV tip-over.

Remember the older and heavier TV sets we owned? With the introduction of flat screens, these heavy television sets are often hidden away in our rooms on unsuitable furniture which can’t hold their weight and can result in tip-over.

Common tip-over items include television, dressers or chests, tables and microwave ovens.

Ways to minimize risks:

  • Mount or anchor televisions to the wall rather than keeping them on a furniture.
  • Use wall brackets, braces or straps to secure unstable furniture to the wall.
  • Alluring objects like toys, candy or food items shouldn’t be placed on higher shelves. It’s better to hide them away in drawers.
  • Rearrange household items to place heavier items on the lower shelves.

8. Cuts

Every house has a number of common items with sharp edges. When it comes to children, anything like an opened can or a garden hoe can present danger of causing cuts.

Ways to minimize risks:

  • Make it a habit to close the trash. Always use a locking garbage can to protect small children and pets from finding sharp edges on opened cans and lids.
  • Kitchen Supplies prove to be the biggest safety hazard. Knives, graters, and peelers are common items that need to be stored properly in a children safe zone.

9. Accident caused by a Family Dog

According to a recent report by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 100,000 children under the age of 10 are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for dog-bite-related injuries.

The majority of such attacks happen at home by a dog that belongs to the victim’s family. In addition to this, pet food and pet toys with small parts act as choking hazards.

Preventive measures to be taken:

  • Never leave your child unattended with a dog.
    • Teach your kid to be gentle with dogs.
    • Remove hard pet food when your pet has concluded eating.

Always remember, prevention is better than a cure. Take these steps immediately or bookmark this page to go home and execute these cautionary steps. Prevent these safety hazards at your home; make your home a safe haven.

[1] – www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2008/pr46/en/

[2] – https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/5009aWindowCoveringsSafetyAlert6.pdf

[3] – https://www.anchorit.gov/

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Written by Cathy Griffen.
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