When many people think about home safety, things like security systems and fire alarms generally spring to mind. However, there are other, less obvious dangers around the home that can be hazardous to health, particularly if children, elders or pets are part of the family. Read on to find out more about them.
That “new carpet” smell which occurs when new floor covering has been installed comes from a chemical called 4-PC, which in contained in carpet backing. The odor dissipates in anywhere from several days to several weeks, but can cause headaches or a sore throat in sensitive people. Airing the carpet beforehand or keeping the room well-ventilated are good ways to avoid this.
Dust mites are microscopic organisms that can colonize homes, living off of tiny flakes of shed human skin. Even if they are tiny, they are very dangerous and exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms. Using allergy covers on bedding, washing bedding at least weekly, and regular vacuuming will help keep dust mite populations down.
If there is a musty odor in the bathroom or a closet, it is likely caused by mold. Mold spores can develop in around 24 hours if conditions are sufficiently damp and they can colonize on wood, cotton, paint, paper or dry wall, just to name a few possible surfaces. The presence of mold can also cause respiratory problems. Dehumidifiers, fans and good ventilation will help prevent an infestation.
Medications around the home are necessary, but they can be dangerous, particularly if there are pets, children or a forgetful elder in residence. Making sure the medications are out of reach in locked cabinets or cupboards and that all of them are in child-resistant caps can help to reduce the risk of an accidental poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas which can come from appliances like furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, water heaters and dryers; it can be harmful or even fatal if it builds up in the home. Installing carbon monoxide detectors, inspecting appliances annually with a certified technician and never idling a car in the garage are all good ways to reduce the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Other Common Items
There are other products around the house that are a potential source of danger, especially if ingested by children. These include furniture polish, detergents, bleach and other household cleaners. Store these items high out of the reach of children or in cabinets that can be locked and teach children about the dangers of handling these items.
The good news is that many of these potential domestic dangers can be avoided with awareness and simple, preventative measures. These measures are generally easy to take and can make the home a much safer place to be.