How Safe is Your Home? 12 Spots to Doublecheck This Month

Your home should be your refuge from the world—the place where you can feel the most safe and secure. Unfortunately, almost half of all accidental injuries happen in the very place we go for solace: at home. That’s especially true in homes with children or seniors. Many household injuries could have been prevented by taking extra care to safeguard the most dangerous spots in the average home.

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Bathtub

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The bathtub presents two dangers: falls and drowning. Never leave a child under the age of six in the tub alone, and ward off falls with a nonslip bathmat placed next to the tub, as well as a nonslip mat or stickers adhered to the tub bottom.

Medicine Chest

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It might be convenient to keep your medications in the medicine cabinet, but if you have children in the home, you’re safer keeping drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) in a locked cabinet or drawer.

Stove and Oven

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The kitchen is another room laden with dual dangers—in this case, fires and burns. Aside from keeping dinner simmering in a slow cooker, never leave your house when something is cooking, and keep an eye on your kids when the oven or the burners are on. When replacing an outdated range, consider going with a model equipped with a light that alerts you when the surface is hot.

Stairs

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A tumble down the stairs is usually painful, but in some cases it can result in broken bones—or even death. Keep your staircase clear of clutter, make sure carpet or runners are securely tacked down, and repair damaged banisters or balusters right away.

Related: These Are the Most Common Ways People Hurt Themselves at Home

Windows

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Even if you live in a single story house, a fall from a window can cause injuries in young children. Keep windows locked, or install childproof window jams and wedges so curious little ones can’t open them on their own.

Electrical Outlets

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Overloaded electrical outlets are not only a potential fire hazard, they can also deliver a serious electrical shock. Never string extension cords together, or plug more than one multi-plug adapter into a single outlet.

Related: These Electrical Safety Tips Could Save Your Life

Fireplace

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A crackling fire is cozy on chilly nights, but it’s also an irresistible draw for curious pets and young children, and poses a fire hazard if not properly tended. A fireplace safety gate is a must in any household, especially one with young children. Never leave children alone when a fire is burning, and don’t go to bed until the fire is completely out. Have the chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected annually to prevent build-ups of creosote, a material that can cause dangerous sparks and fires to flare up within your masonry.

Swimming Pool

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Most cities have strict requirements for safety gates and fences surrounding backyard swimming pools or hot tubs—and for good reason! A child can drown in just a few minutes, and without much noise or splashing, so always keep an eye on your kids while they enjoy the pool.

Related: 8 Home Hazards—and How to Mitigate Them

Cleaning Supply Cabinet

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Many cleaning supplies, such as bleach, drain openers, and oven cleaners, are potent chemicals capable of delivering a contact burn to the skin or life-threatening injuries if swallowed. Keep cleaning supplies in a locked cabinet if you have kids in your home, not merely stored underneath the sink or on the service porch.

Related: 10 Cleaners That Can Do the Most Damage

Bedroom

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Seniors are particularly at risk of a fall in the bedroom, with potentially devastating results. The path from bed to door should always be free of clutter or small rugs that could be tripping hazards, and a nightlight is a must-have for nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Laundry Room

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The clothes dryer is one of the most common culprits when it comes to home fires. Clean the lint trap after every use, and clean the dryer vent at least once per year; seasonal cleanings are even better.

Front Entry

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A front entry that’s cluttered with boxes or furniture, or a front walk blocked with toys, garden hoses, or garden tools presents a tripping hazard to visitors and family members alike. Keep walkways free of anything that might cause an unwary walker to stumble.

Safety First

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Do what you can to prevent accidents from happening at your house.