Household items that create surprising hazards and dangers

Some household safety risks may surprise you and knowing a few of the culprits is important to help prevent accidents in your home.

Toddler playing with refrigerator magnets.

How can I avoid surprising household hazards?

  • Keep treadmills and exercise equipment secured, powered off and unplugged . The rotating belt can cause friction rashes, broken bones and snagged clothing in an instant.
    • Keep the treadmill in a closed room, turn off the power switch (or unplug it).
    • Store the safety key away from the machine so that children can't accidentally turn it on.
  • Keep refrigerator magnets out of reach or secured . Small magnets can be swallowed and put children at risk of choking or damaging their stomachs and digestive tracts.
  • Keep coin/button batteries out of reach and secure items that use them . Coin lithium "button" batteries can put children at risk of choking or do internal damage to their bodies.
    • Tape battery doors shut on items powered by coin batteries so children can't access them.
    • Keep unused batteries out of children's reach.
  • Maintain and assure garage doors are operating smoothly and functioning safely . Malfunctioning and improperly installed garage doors cause injuries.
    • Regularly test garage doors to make sure they retract when an object is in its path to prevent injury if someone walks or stands underneath.
    • Have a professional inspect your garage doors, all springs and sensors to see if they need repair.
  • Maintain and evaluate electronic appliances. The advanced features on today's high-tech appliances make them easy to use but they can short circuit and lead to fires. Pay close attention to:
    • Stove burner ignitions that turn on by themselves,
    • Refrigerator light bulbs that stay on and overheat, and
    • Appliances with warning signals. Display panels often flash unusual messages if there's a problem.

How can I avoid typical household hazards?

  • Keep floors and stairways in high traffic areas clear to prevent injury and falls.
  • Assure stairways are well lit .
  • Store household cleaners and poisonous items and medications in safe places to prevent children from reaching them and to prevent accidental poisoning.
  • Maintain fresh batteries in smoke detectors in case of fire and in carbon monoxide detectors to prevent poisoning.
  • Verify wiring and light switches in your home are problem free.
  • Secure swimming pools and spas with safety features to prevent drownings.

Other hazards to consider

  • Store your hand tools and power tools behind a lock and key.
  • Keep hazardous materials stored and disposed of properly (paint, heat-sensitive or combustible materials and solvents etc.).
  • Keep fertilizers, weed-killers and pesticides stored out of a child's reach or behind a locked cabinet.
  • Practice kitchen safety.
  • Be cautious when opening plastic packages.
    • Trying to open rigid clamshell packages with knives or scissors can cause cuts and puncture wounds.
    • Sharp plastic can also gouge skin.
      • Instead, use tin snips, a manual-can opener or scissors specially designed for this purpose.

Regularly review your home for potential fire hazards

It is always a good idea to conduct a regular home inspection and to create and keep a well-stocked first-aid kit for your home using these tips from the American Red Cross.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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