Your home is your safe haven, somewhere that you go at the end of a long day to relax, recharge, and of course, feel secure. However, our homes are not quite as safe as we think. There are hundreds of dangers within our own homes. From man-made compounds to biological contaminants, our homes can make us sick, injured or even cause death. The dangers significantly increase if you have children in your home. Below are the top ten threats to you, your home, and your family — and what to do to protect yourself against them.
Mice, rats, birds, insects, etc. are considered vermin. Mice and other small animals can creep into your home through tiny crevices. They then can chew through your walls, through electrical wires, in your food storage, and basically everywhere else. You barely even know that they’re there until it is too late. Prevention is key when it comes to pests. Get your house sprayed to keep out bugs. Seal any cracks or holes along the outside of your home, including entrances. Keep your landscaping, such as your garden boxes, at least 2 feet away from your home to prevent pests from infiltrating your home.
Biological contaminants are anything produced by living or dead organisms. This includes: mold, mildew, viruses, animal fur, animal droppings, saliva, dust, mites, cockroaches, pollen, carcases of dead animals and more. These contaminants can cause disease, become small enough to be inhaled, and are breeding grounds for bacteria and mold. Make sure that you keep your home clean by sweeping, mopping, wiping down furniture and counters, as well as cleaning air filters often. While biological contaminants are hard to avoid, as even we produce them, they can be taken care of if you keep your home clean.
Mold is a pesky threat that exists in an estimated 70% of homes. It is more prominent in bathrooms, basements, humid environments, and anywhere that water collects. Not all mold is dangerous, but it should be taken care of as soon as possible. Clean the affected area with bleach, and replace surfaces with non-porous mold-resistant materials. Mold is an effect of a deeper, more troubling moisture problem, so figure out what is causing the mold. Do you have leaky pipes, poor ventilation, or water intrusion? If so, fix it or the mold will come back.
Your home is full of dangerous toxins and chemicals. From your non-stick pans, to your cleaning supplies, you are polluting your life with chemicals. Ammonia and bleach are dangerous chemicals that independently can cause blindness, liver damage, or lung problems, but when mixed create a toxic gas. Many traditional cleaning supplies contain one of these chemicals. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are also dangerous to your health. Be careful when storing any of these, as children can easily find them and become poisoned. They also need to be stored in an air-tight container to prevent you from breathing the toxic fumes.
Electric Shocks and Fire
You would think that protecting yourself from electrical shocks and fires would be common sense, but it happens a lot more often than anyone would be willing to admit. Children are the most vulnerable to shocks and starting fires, as they do not yet understand the dangers of electricity. Child proof your home by putting plastic covers on electrical outlets, and protecting outlets by putting furniture in front of them. Never “daisy chain” your power cords (hooking power cord into power cord into power cord), and never pull on a cord to unplug an appliance. Keep all electronics in good condition, and never use cords that are frayed (including your phone charger!).
If you live in a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane zone, extreme weather is a real threat. You may suddenly find yourself without water or power for a few days in a storm, heavy snow can trap you inside your home for a few days or strong winds can blow a nearby tree onto your home. While you cannot prevent storms from coming, you can prepare yourself for inclement weather. Have a 72 hour kit in your home for every member of your family. Prepare an emergency plan for your family that involves safe meeting places, emergency contacts, first aid, and more.
You are probably the biggest threat to your home. Your actions can cause a lot of the above threats. For example, if you don’t clean up after your meals, and you leave crumbs around your house, you are more likely to get pests and vermin than if you keep clean. Also, the placement of your furniture and your decisions on how to run your home can make you more likely for fire, mold, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more. Don’t forget to get carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to keep yourself safe!
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