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16 Most Dangerous Things in Your Home

Stairs

Falling is the number one most common house-related accident and the number two cause of accidental death. When falls occur in the home, they are frequently caused by stairs. 

To keep your home fall free, be sure to install handrails and good lighting. Additionally, for families with children, it's also best to install baby gates at both the top and bottom of the stairs. 

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Windows

For most people, the risk of falling out of a window is pretty low. However, it's a much more common problem for children, which makes unsecured windows a danger in your home. 

Window guards can help prevent accidental falls, but make sure they come with an emergency release button for things like household fires. And when setting up a kid's room, make sure there isn't any furniture they can crawl on that's near a window. 

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Stoves

If you get a burn in your home, there's a high probability you got it in the kitchen from the stove. While anyone in the kitchen is at risk for a burn, the danger is highest with children, who don't always understand how stoves work. 

To keep your kids safe and burn-free, never leave them unattended in the kitchen. It can also help to cook on the back burners when possible to reduce the chances of them accidentally reaching up and touching the heating element or pulling a pan off the stove. 

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Bathtubs

Almost 300 children under the age of five die every year in the home from drowning. While many of these cases take place around a pool, the bathtub can be an unexpected source of danger. 

Thankfully, problems like this can be easily avoided by simply keeping an eye on your kids through the entirety of bath time. 

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Space Heaters

It should go without saying that space heaters can pose a safety risk, but they are responsible for tens of thousands of household fires every year. While they might be a necessity for some, you've got to watch them closely. 

Before using a space heater, always read the instructions carefully, check to make sure it's been lab inspected, and look for any damage to the product. When your space heater is in use, keep it at least three feet away from flammable objects and never let it run unsupervised. 

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Extension Cords

Extension cords lead to over 3000 house fires and 300 injuries annually. Thankfully, most of these occur with faulty or old equipment. Keeping your extension cords in good shape is essential for preventing fires. 

If possible, don't skimp on the cost of an extension cord. Cheaper varieties are often not insulated as well as high-quality ones, and good insulation is a must if you're going to be using it frequently or continually. And always replace a damaged extension cord right away. 

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Clothes Dryer

Clothes dryers can pose a danger to kids small enough to fit inside them, but they can also be a fire hazard for the whole family. Heat and a lack of good airflow make them especially dangerous when they aren't maintained well. 

To reduce the risk of a fire from a clothes dryer, always make sure your lint catcher is free from lint. But you also want to be aware of the air duct connected to your dryer. If your unit is too close to the wall, this could obstruct the flow of air through the duct, which can also lead to a fire. 

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Mothballs

Mothballs might be a bit old-school these days, but they can pose a danger if you've still got them lying around. These small, white pellets are used to keep away moths and other bugs that eat through clothing, but the pesticides used to make them effective aren't great for humans, either. 

Because of the risk of ingestion by children or pets, it might just be best to give up mothballs entirely. If you're having problems with an infestation, an exterminator might be necessary. And in the meantime, thoroughly washing your clothes and storing them in airtight containers should keep them safe. 

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Christmas Trees

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can turn bad pretty quickly. Christmas trees can go up in flames, especially real trees that are drying out. 

According to NFPA, between 2013 and 2017, Christmas tree fires accounted for three deaths, 15 injuries, and $10 million in damage.  Fake Christmas trees can also burn, but they're less likely to catch on fire.

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Humidifiers

Some people swear by humidifiers, but they're probably doing more harm than good if you're not cleaning it properly. When left alone for too long, humidifiers can begin to grow mold, and when they're turned on, they blow those spores and bacteria directly into the air you breathe. 

Changing the water regularly and cleaning your humidifier should be enough to do the trick. But if you're still having problems, try switching to distilled water too. 

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New Carpet

If you've recently had carpet installed in your home, you might have noticed that "new carpet smell." Unfortunately, what you're actually smelling are volatile organic compounds found in the carpet glue and dyes. And it should come as no surprise to hear that inhaling glue isn't good for you. 

Luckily, the danger of inhalation subsides in the days and weeks after your new carpet has been installed. But for the first few days you have it, make sure to keep the room well ventilated and to vacuum your carpet. 

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Pressed Wood

You can find pressed wood (like plywood) in everything from siding to tables. Unfortunately, the formaldehyde in pressed wood products can cause respiratory problems--especially for people with asthma. 

Unfortunately, the only real solution to this problem is to removed the pressed wood objects that are causing the problems. These products can be more affordable, but they also might be more trouble than they are worth. 

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Air Fresheners

If you've ever had to share a bathroom with someone else, you know that air fresheners are a must. Unfortunately, they can cause problems when accidentally inhaled. According to some studies, these problems can range from heart disease to fertility issues. 

Short of abstaining from using air fresheners completely, there are some steps you can take to ensure you're being as safe as possible. Only use them when absolutely necessary, use them in well-ventilated areas only, and try to avoid the areas where you spray them for a few moments after use. 

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Flat Screen TVs

Almost 20,000 children have been taken to the hospital over the last 20 years due to injuries from a falling TV. And as our televisions get thinner and thinner, balance issues become more of a problem. 

Flat screens that rest on a tabletop surface are more likely to fall than wall-mounted TVs, so avoid them if you've got small children. However, you'll also want to make sure that your TV is correctly mounted to the wall using a high-quality mount. It's still possible for them to fall if they've been installed poorly. 

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Lead Paint

While not an issue in newer homes, if your house was built before 1978, there's a chance you may have lead paint. Inhalation of lead can lead to neurological issues, developmental disabilities, and even death. And if your lead paint is peeling or chipping, your risk of inhalation is high. 

While it is possible to remove lead paint yourself, if you're not entirely sure of what you're doing, it's best to have professionals come in and remove it for you. 

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Furnaces

If your furnace isn't well maintained, it can pose the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And even though space heaters pose a bigger problem, furnaces are responsible for roughly 20% of fires caused by heating equipment. 

To keep your furnace in safe, working order, it's best to have it inspected by a professional at least once a year. Additionally, make sure you've got working fire and carbon monoxide detectors in case any problems do arise. 

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