5 Home Safety Threats You Might Overlook

You're a careful parent who steers children away from things that could harm them. But hidden threats lurk in every house—sometimes where you least expect them. For safety's sake, look through your home often. Keep an eye out for not-so-obvious hazards. Here are 5 of them:

Scalding tap water

It is common for a home's water heater to be set above 120°F (48.8°C). This can cause a scald burn to a child in seconds. Scalding hot tap water causes thousands of injuries and more than 30 deaths a year. A lot of victims are young kids.

Solution: Set your hot water heater to no higher than 120° F (48.8°C), and check the temperature of your tap water to be sure it's safe.

Unstable furniture

Each year, thousands of young kids are badly injured—and some die—when large TVs and heavy furniture tip over on them. Often, the victims were climbing it, or pulling themselves up on it, or falling against unstable furniture.

Solution: Double-check the stability of large furniture. Anchor stoves, bookcases, shelves, or bureaus to the wall. Get rid of items that may tempt kids to climb.

Window blinds

Hundreds of children have strangled to death after getting tangled up in cords or chains on window blinds. Window coverings sold before 2001 pose the most danger.

Solution: Secure the cords of older window coverings so children can't reach them. Or replace them with safer, cordless blinds. Move cribs, beds, and other furniture away from windows. Use only cordless window coverings in children's sleep and play areas. 

Poorly stored chemicals

Since the year 2000, the number of poisoning deaths has doubled among children. Many poisons are found in the garage, kitchen, or bathroom. They include pesticides, automotive products, weed killers, and household cleaning and disinfectant products.

Solution: Store harmful chemicals in their original, labeled containers—safely out of reach. Consider locked cabinets for storage. Never leave chemicals unattended when you are using them.

Home trampolines

Backyard trampolines send tens of thousands of people younger than 20 to doctors and emergency rooms each year. Injuries range from sprains, broken bones, and cuts—to neck and spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and even death.

Solution: Don't use home trampolines. In gym classes or competitive sports, use a trampoline only with strict adult guidance and supervision.