Top 5 Hidden Hazards And How To Prevent Them In Your Home
The home is a place of comfort and safety but sometimes hidden hazards can be right there under our noses.
It is easy to spot the more obvious household hazards such as open flames, staircases, or railings. How do we prevent some of the less obvious hazards?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, has compiled a list of the top five hidden hazards within the home. They are magnets, recalled products, tip over, pools and spa drains, and windows.
In this article, we would like to walk through these five hidden household hazards and discuss some of the best ways to prevent injury or harm.
How To Prevent Hidden Hazard #1 - Magnets
Magnets can be a choking hazard for young children and pets. The most obvious magnets are the decorative ones found on kitchen refrigerators or other metal surfaces.
As with any choking hazard, it is best to keep the size and shape in mind. It is recommended to keep objects that are smaller than 1 ¼ inches (3 centimeters) in diameter and 2 ¼ inches (6 centimeters) in length well out of reach. Round, smooth objects can easily become lodged in small mouths and are extremely difficult to remove.
There are plenty of options for decorative magnets that are large enough to not be a choking hazard such as large letters, numbers, and shapes. There are even large magnetic frames that can display special cards, photos, or artwork that are also wonderful options.
There are some less obvious locations where magnets can be found as well. Cabinet hardware can include magnets that help to keep drawers or cupboard doors shut. These types of magnets can often be found in medicine cabinets, entertainment centers, or office filing drawers. While they should be installed firmly into the cabinetry, it does not mean they can not come loose.
Other less obvious locations where small magnets can be found are in decorative soft goods such as tablecloths, runners, or curtains. The magnets are sewn into the edges or hem of the fabric to weigh down the sides and keep the product in place. Once again, these small magnets are hidden away, so it can be difficult to notice if they go missing.
These less obvious magnets can be much more dangerous since they are usually small and are tucked away out of sight and out of mind. Make it a habit to be aware of these hidden magnets and check these areas often to ensure they are still in place.
How To Prevent Hidden Hazard #2 - Product Recalls
Products that have been recalled for safety concerns by manufacturers can be a clear and present danger that we are not aware of. Warning labels are the first step in preventing obvious dangers such as safe age ranges, products with small parts, or materials that are flammable.
While we may be aware of warning labels on many household products, we may not be familiar with what they say. Paying attention to these labels is a great way to ensure the products are being used in the most safe and effective way possible.
Most household products can also be registered with the manufacturing company so that in the event of a recall, there is an effective way to notify the consumer.
Registering your products, especially items that are specific to your children or pets, is a great way to ensure that you will be notified in the event that something is found to be defective or harmful.
The CPSC also has a specific section on their website where you can search for recent recalls. To learn more or to search this database, visit https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls.
How To Prevent Hidden Hazard #3 - Improperly Anchored Furniture
It is easy to think that large pieces of furniture are too heavy to be moved by small animals or children, but that is exactly why they can be so dangerous
While a small child may not be able to lift something large, that does not mean the piece can not be tipped or inadvertently toppled over.
The biggest danger from these large appliances and furniture is the potential for them to tip over and fall on an innocent bystander. While this may be just an inconvenient injury for an adult, for young children or animals, the results may be much more extreme.
Most large furniture pieces come equipped with hardware designed specifically to anchor it to the wall. Since these large items are not intended to be moved frequently, once the precise location has been determined, it should be easy to secure it to the walls or ceiling.
Large televisions also come with anchoring hardware designed to ensure they can not be accidentally knocked over. Not only is this a safety precaution, but it can also help prevent accidental damage to the television as well.
If you are at all unsure of how best to anchor or secure a piece of furniture or appliance, there are wonderful resources available online through most major manufacturers.
How To Prevent Hidden Hazard #4 - Pool And Spa Drains
Not every home will come with a swimming pool or spa, but this is still a very real hazard that needs attention. While the primary concern may be drowning, there is a very real danger that comes from the drains that are used in both pools and spas.
These drains use suction to circulate the water through the filtration system which can present a hazard even to capable swimmers.
The best advice is to ensure that no children or pets can get near the water unattended. Security fencing and gates are a crucial part of making sure little ones can not accidentally enter the pool or spa area.
Patio doors that lead to outdoor pools should have a functioning lock that is out of reach from little hands. Sensors and alarms can also be used to draw attention to someone entering the pool area.
Pools and spas should be properly covered as well as all drains should be equipped with compliant drain covers. All covers should be inspected regularly to make sure they are not cracked or damaged.
There are also a wide variety of child safety products that can be used as an alert if a child is to wander too close to a pool or spa or falls into water.
Some of these security devices can also be used on pet collars to sound an alarm if one is to accidentally fall into deep water.
When it comes to pools and spas, take every precaution to make sure these areas are safe and secure so they can continue to be used for fun and relaxation.
How To Prevent Hidden Hazard #5 - Window Cords
Windows are a wonderful feature in every home, and window treatments add a beautiful finishing touch but they can also present a very real danger to small children and pets if not properly outfitted.
National standards have changed over the years to ensure that all new window treatments meet the proper regulations regarding lift cords.
Cordless window treatments are now considered the safest options for homes with small children and pets. Cordless options are more readily available in all types of window treatments and come in a wide range of styles, materials, and colors.
Cordless window treatments are also easily integrated with motorization and can be set up to work with smart home connected devices for even greater comfort and convenience.
For older window treatments that still utilize a lift cord, there should always be a way to secure the cord. Cord cleats are a way to wrap and anchor the extra length of cord to keep it neat and out of reach. Cord cleats are a small piece of hardware that can be mounted to the side of the window frame or on the wall beside the window. They are inexpensive and easy to install.
Continuous loop lift systems use one long circular cord that runs down the side of the window treatment and back up to the headrail. This creates one continuous loop and is typically much shorter than a standard lift cord so it does not hang as low or get tangled as easily.
A control wand is another manual control option for window treatments. These are commonly seen with horizontal blinds to control the tilt of the slats. These can also be used instead of a pulley or cord for blinds or drapes that open and close horizontally. Control wands also eliminate the hazard of long, tangled up cords.
The Window Covering Safety Council has created a Best For Kids™ certification program that helps to label and identify window treatments that are considered the safest options available. Be sure to ask about window treatment options that are certified as Best For Kids™ during your consultation with your Gotcha Covered designer. They have extensive knowledge of window cord safety and how to incorporate cordless and motorized window treatment options in your home.
For more information about the best window treatment options to keep small children and pets safe, be sure to read our article 6 Safety Features That Promote Window Covering Safety For Children And Pets.
We hope this information has provided you with some valuable insight as to how best to prevent potential dangers or injury within your home.
At Gotcha Covered, we are committed to staying up to date on the most current information available regarding window cord safety.
Our number one priority is to deliver a product that not only meets your expectations in style and appearance, but also the functional needs of your everyday life.
There are numerous options available for beautiful window treatments that can keep your little ones safe and put your mind at ease.
Our designers are experts at determining the best window treatments to fit your needs, style, and budget. They will be sure to make the best recommendations for each room in your home or workplace.
Call us at (888) 650-6187 or schedule a free design consultation today!