At Triumph Property Management, we regularly conduct maintenance on our properties. As such, we come across common sources of safety hazard in the home – many of which we discuss below. Safety hazards are a risk to adult and child alike. It’s important that homeowners are fully aware of the hazards in their home, what they can do to prevent hazards and what procedures to have in place if a hazard occurs.

Many of the risks we review below – whether its fires, cuts or choking hazards – are highly preventable. The tragedy is, for each year that passes, that these risks continue to result in death. And as the holiday season comes around, this risk of harm and/or death increases yet further.

1. Choking hazards

Choking hazards are one such example.

Many families spruce up their homes for the holiday season – adding lights, placing trees and adorning their home with electrical items. These fittings and features substantially add to the risk of choking hazards, particularly for young children.

In fact, choking is the fourth largest cause of accidental death – claiming over 4,000 lives each year. To avoid choking, parents should focus on reducing food sizes, keep small and choke-able items out of reach, inspect toys, tidy wires away and – if necessary – use a baby monitor.

2. Toxic substances

Remarkably, there were over two million poisoning cases in the US in 2014.

But when you think about it, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Household cleaning products and medicines are often clumsily left in vulnerable places around the home, providing easy access for curious, playful children.

Some medicines, particularly cough and cold liquid medicines, are quite tasty – liquids that children have no problem consuming. Lower poisoning risks by keeping medicines and cleaning products out of reach. Also, store away paints and personal cleaning products, too.

3. Water hazards

The number of children drowning has increased 7-fold over the past 10 years.

These are disturbingly high statistics. They’re also frustrating statistics, not least when one considers how preventable these accidents are. Drowning doesn’t just occur in baths, it has also happened in cases where parents or siblings leave full buckets around, for example.

Do your part to lower the risk of drowning. Monitor children at every point throughout the bathing process – as the bath is running, when the child is bathing, and as the plug is pulled. Don’t leave full buckets around, either. Drowning only takes a matter of seconds, after all.

4. Fire hazards

There were almost 400,000 fires in US homes last year; a frightening figure.

We’re not talking about homes going up in flames, either. Even small fires have the capacity to kill – whether that’s through burns or through carbon monoxide poisoning. Small fires can also cause permanent scarring. Fires continue to remain a clear and present danger.

Take steps to actively lower this risk. Be sure to have a reputable fire alarm installed. If you already have an alarm, be sure to check whether it’s still working. Learn to monitor. This is necessary for smoking and candles. Look around for any damaged wiring, too.

5. Physical injury

Cuts happen, yes – but many cuts can have lasting, if not fatal, consequences.

Sharp edges are everywhere – whether it’s from knives, tools, inside the trash, and razors in the bathroom. The list goes on. Adults need to take precautions to protect both themselves and the children entrusted to their care.

On a practical level, this means adequately storing the trash (as the trash may contain exposed tin edges etc.), storing kitchen and bathroom supplies accordingly, and placing knives downward in the dishwasher (no upward, exposed parts). Also, be sure to store away tools.

By actively taking these steps, we can avoid risk both to ourselves as well as for children. Young children have no say in safety procedures. It’s our duty to ensure that children remain out of harm’s way at all time. This means making a positive effort to reduce the above risks.

Check back to our property management blog again where we’ll explore more safety hazards in the home and what you, the homeowner, can do to prevent them.