Many household injuries can be prevented by fixing safety hazards that are often overlooked. Usually, this involves nothing more than a few simple repairs. Here are the most common hazards to look for, organized by areas in the home.
All Areas of the Home:
Electrical Outlets and Switches
- Outlets and switches unusually warm or hot to the touch.
- Outlets and switches with missing cover plates.
- Outlets with smudge marks around the socket where plugs are inserted.
- Light bulbs that exceed the maximum wattage for their lamp or fixture.
Electrical and Phone Cords
- Lamp, extension and telephone cords located in the flow of traffic.
- Cords under furniture, rugs and carpeting.
- Cords attached to the wall, baseboard or floor with nails or staples.
- Electrical cords in poor condition (frayed or cracked).
- Overloaded extension cords or outlets (too many electrical items plugged into one extension cord or outlet).
- Rugs, Runners and Mats
- Small rugs and runners that tend to slide when stepped on.
- Shelves not securely fastened to the wall.
- Overloaded shelves.
- Shelves are too high to be easily reached.
Telephones / Emergencies
- Can they hear the telephone ring?
- Are emergency numbers posted on or near each telephone?
- If your loved one lives alone, are they frail or unstable when they walk?
Smoke / Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Less than one smoke / carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home.
- Smoke / carbon monoxide detectors don’t work properly
- An electrical heater with a 3-prong plug plugged into a 2-prong adapter that isn’t properly installed to the socket.
- A heater placed where it can be knocked over.
- A heater placed near furniture and other flammable materials such as curtains and rugs.
- A kerosene or gas space heater that isn’t properly vented.
- Towels, curtains, potholders, plastic containers and utensils, and other flammable items too near the stove.
- Wearing loose-fitting long sleeves while cooking.
- A kitchen ventilation system or range exhaust not working properly, or not used when cooking.
- An extension cord or appliance cord that’s too close to a sink or stove.
- Poor lighting over the stove, sink and countertop work areas.
- An unstable or broken step stool.
- Using chairs, boxes, or other makeshift items to reach high shelves.
- Outdated foods in the refrigerator, freezer, pantry or shelves.
Bathtub and Shower Areas
- Grab bars not installed in bathtub, shower or toilet areas.
- Hot water temperature exceeds 120 degrees.
- No light switch near bathroom door.
- Hair dryers, shavers, curling irons, etc., not unplugged when not in use.
- Lamps or light switches not within easy reach of each bed.
- Ash trays and smoking materials on bedside tables.
- Smoking in bed.
- An electric blanket that’s tucked in.
- No flashlight near the bed.
- No telephone near the bed.
- Sleeping with a heating pad turned