5 Most Dangerous Things In Your Home

If you’ve ever attempted to childproof your home, you likely honed in on a few key items – outlets, chemicals under the sink, the fireplace, and stove – but you aren’t done yet. Most parents miss the most common dangers lurking in the home; risky items that can even harm your older children and teens. These five items are dangers hiding in plain sight, and you’ll find them in nearly every home.

Unanchored Furniture

In recent years, parents have become more aware of the importance of anchoring furniture, particularly dressers, after several high-profile cases in which children were crushed by falling furniture and a major recall from IKEA. Still, a large number of parents only anchor a few items in their child’s room or don’t secure their furniture at all, despite that fact that a child dies from a television tip-over every three weeks, and 13,000 children are injured each year by falling furniture. Take the time to anchor all large furniture pieces in your home, in every room, because children love to explore and they’ll climb on anything. Don’t let your décor be a danger.

Perfumed Products

Whether you’re a fan of scented candles or lemony cleaning spray, most homes are packed with perfumed products, but artificial scents aren’t good for children – or adults. Go beyond just locking up the cleaning supplies and start reading labels and ditch the scented products. Broad terms like fragrance and perfume in the product ingredients are especially serious red flags. Fragrances used in everything from cleaning sprays to cosmetics are a minimally regulated group of over 3,000 chemicals, many of which have been proven hazardous and they have no place in our homes.

Video Games

Most childproofing focuses on risks to small children, but we have a responsibility to keep our tweens and teens safe as well, and video games are a looming issue in today’s homes; some teens are even being diagnosed with “gaming disorder,” an obsession akin to other addictive behaviors. That doesn’t mean you need to ban video games from your home entirely, but limit screen time, watch out for physical issues like back pain and eye strain, and monitor who your kids interact with in online gaming environments. It can help to place video games and other technology in public areas so that screen time isn’t private or hidden and you can provide feedback on your child’s gaming behaviors, such as digital sportsmanship and amount of screen time.

Moldy Humidifiers

Many families use humidifiers, particularly during the winter months when indoor heating can dry out the air, causing nosebleeds and irritating respiratory issues, but if you don’t properly care for your humidifier, it could be doing more harm than good. In particular, poorly maintained humidifiers may harbor mold, bacteria, and fungi, thereby triggering asthma attacks and spreading illness. Rather than just refilling your humidifier, give it a thorough scrub and refill with fresh, distilled water after each use.

Chemical Cosmetics

If you use commercial shampoos, deodorants, and other cosmetics – and most of us do – it’s time to reconsider their place in your home. These products often include phthalates, also known as plasticisers, a group of chemicals that can bind color and fragrance and are also used to increase the durability of plastic goods, and when these chemicals enter your children’s bodies, they can interfere with normal hormone function. California and Washington have actually banned phthalates in children’s toys, but they may be slipping into your home with your pharmacy purchases.

Not all home hazards announce themselves with fire, sharp edges, or toxic chemical warnings; many seem like harmless, everyday products. Unfortunately, this is what makes them so dangerous – it’s hard to weed out the biggest risks, but we certainly can try. Our families deserve healthy homes, and we have to be vigilant to spot the dangers lurking around every corner.

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