Beware of These Most Common Hazards Within Your Home

For Buyers

Beware of These Most Common Hazards Within Your Home

Being aware of hazards within your home is the first step to preventing them. Common home hazards include fire, poisoning, carbon monoxide, allergies, and water-related dangers. Additionally, risks posed by your home's contents, such as falls, choking, cuts, and burns, need to be addressed to ensure a safe living environment. Here's how to safeguard your home against these potential dangers.

Fire Safety

Fires at home can be highly dangerous, not only to your property but also to you and your family. To ensure safety, it's crucial to install and maintain working smoke alarms. Test them regularly to confirm they are functioning correctly. Develop a comprehensive fire plan that includes escape routes and safety protocols for all household members.

To reduce the risk of a home fire:

  • Reduce flammable clutter: Items like old boxes, paper, and clothing can easily catch fire. Regularly declutter your home to minimize these risks.
  • Never leave cooking unattended: Kitchen fires are a leading cause of house fires. Always supervise cooking activities and use a timer to remind you of items on the stove or in the oven.
  • Maintain fireplaces and chimneys: Regular inspections and cleaning by a professional can prevent creosote buildup and reduce the risk of chimney fires.
  • Assess electrical systems: Look for frayed or loose wires, and if found, have them inspected by a qualified electrician. Avoid overloading outlets and use surge protectors to safeguard your electrical appliances.

Poisoning Prevention

Poisoning can occur from various household items, such as cleaning supplies, medications, and petroleum products. To protect your family, particularly children, it's essential to store these items safely.

Strategies to prevent poisoning:

  • Lock away hazardous items: Keep cleaning supplies, medications, and other toxic substances in locked cabinets or high shelves out of reach of children.
  • Use child-resistant packaging: Whenever possible, purchase products with child-resistant caps and closures.
  • Label all containers: Clearly label all containers, especially those that might be mistaken for food or drink. Never store chemicals or petrol in bottles that could be confused with drinkable liquids.
  • Dispose of old medications safely: Follow local guidelines for disposing of expired or unused medications to prevent accidental ingestion.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Homes with fossil fuel-burning appliances, such as gas heaters, stoves, and water heaters, are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

To reduce the risk of CO poisoning:

  • Install CO detectors: Place carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test them monthly and replace batteries as needed.
  • Maintain appliances: Schedule regular maintenance for all fossil fuel-burning appliances to ensure they are functioning correctly and safely.
  • Ventilate properly: Ensure that all appliances are adequately ventilated and that vents are not blocked. Never use portable generators, grills, or camp stoves indoors.
  • Educate your family: Make sure everyone in your household knows the symptoms of CO poisoning (headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea) and what to do if the alarm sounds.

Allergy Management

Allergies, particularly mold allergies, can significantly impact your quality of life. Mold thrives in damp environments and can grow on various surfaces within your home.

To manage mold and allergies:

  • Control humidity: Use dehumidifiers to keep indoor humidity levels below 50%. Ensure bathrooms and kitchens are well-ventilated to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean regularly: Remove condensation from surfaces and clean areas prone to mold growth, such as shower curtains, window sills, and basement walls.
  • Use air purifiers: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can help reduce allergens in the air.
  • Inspect your home: Regularly check for signs of mold growth and address leaks or water damage promptly to prevent mold spores from spreading.

Water Safety

Water-related hazards, such as swimming pools and bathtubs, present a significant risk of drowning, particularly for young children.

Water safety tips:

  • Supervise children: Never leave children unattended near water, including bathtubs, pools, or buckets of water.
  • Install barriers: Erect fences or barriers around pools and use safety covers when not in use. Ensure gates are self-closing and self-latching.
  • Learn CPR: In case of emergencies, knowing CPR can save lives. Take a certified course to learn these critical skills.
  • Use alarms: Install pool alarms that alert you when someone enters the water unexpectedly.

Home Content Hazards

Falls: Falls account for 40 percent of injuries requiring hospitalization. Avoid using rugs that can trip you or slide along the floor. Clutter and power cords can also cause falls.

To prevent falls:

  • Secure rugs: Use non-slip pads or double-sided tape to keep rugs in place. Avoid placing rugs in high-traffic areas.
  • Clear pathways: Keep hallways, stairs, and walkways free of clutter. Securely tape down power cords or use cord covers.
  • Install handrails: Ensure that stairs have sturdy handrails on both sides. Consider installing grab bars in bathrooms near toilets and showers.
  • Use proper lighting: Adequate lighting can help prevent trips and falls. Install nightlights in hallways and bathrooms.

Choking: To prevent choking, cut food into small bites for children and avoid buying tiny toys for your kids.

Choking prevention tips:

  • Supervise meals: Always supervise young children while they are eating. Encourage them to chew food thoroughly and avoid talking or laughing while eating.
  • Inspect toys: Regularly check toys for small parts that could be a choking hazard. Follow age-appropriate guidelines when purchasing toys.
  • Keep small objects out of reach: Items like coins, buttons, and batteries should be stored out of reach of children.

Cuts and Burns: Cuts and burns are common injuries at home. Store sharp objects away from children and ensure children are protected from fireplaces and stoves when cooking.

To prevent cuts and burns:

  • Store knives safely: Keep knives and other sharp objects in locked drawers or cabinets. Use knife blocks or magnetic strips to store knives securely.
  • Use stove guards: Install stove guards to prevent children from reaching hot burners. Turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk of accidental spills.
  • Set water heater temperature: Adjust your water heater to a safe temperature (120°F or lower) to prevent scalding.
  • Teach safety: Educate children about the dangers of hot surfaces and sharp objects. Supervise them closely in the kitchen and around fireplaces.


Ensuring home safety involves being proactive and aware of potential hazards. By addressing risks related to fire, poisoning, carbon monoxide, allergies, water, and household contents, you can create a safer environment for your family. Regular maintenance and mindful practices are key to preventing accidents and injuries in your home.