Owning your own house is a very exciting adventure, but common household issues and dangers can arise! Learn more about these common hazards and how to prevent potential issues in order to keep you and your family safe.
According to a Home Safety Council study, the top home hazards include falls, poisoning, fires/burns, choking and suffocation, and drowning. Let’s take a quick look at these dangers below:
- Falls: When living with small children and older adults, it is imperative to continuously watch out for fall hazards. Wet floors, cluttered areas and play equipment all pose safety threats and are things you must pay attention to. Installing handrails/supports, using safety gates, and purchasing non-slip mats are great ideas to prevent falls.
- Poisoning: Carbon monoxide detectors are now required in all homes in Ontario to prevent accidental poisoning. A detector should be placed near all sleeping areas of the house to ensure the home is fully protected. Additional poisoning threats include medicine/vitamins, paint, and common household cleaning products, which all should be kept in a safe place where children cannot reach.
- Fires/burns: Most fires are completely avoidable by inspecting your home for potential risks regularly. Unplugging unused appliances, decreasing clutter around water tanks and furnaces, and never leaving candles unattended will lower your risk of accidental house fires. By installing and changing batteries of smoke alarms, having a fire extinguisher available and planning escape routes, you will be prepared in case of a fire emergency.
- Chocking and suffocation: Unintentional chocking and suffocation is the leading cause of death for infants under the age of one. By removing common chocking hazards around the house, such as small objects, cords, and soft bedding, the risk of chocking and suffocation is reduced.
- Drowning: Drowning in a bathtub and pool is quite common among children, which is why it is important to never leave a child unattended when near water, monitor water levels and place gates around pool areas.
If you’ve noticed a musty smell, and have persistent allergy-like symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and red eyes, you may want to search your house for mould. If your house has had water leaks, flooding and/or condensation, you may want to take a closer look to see if mould is present. In order to prevent major problems, it is important to look for signs of mould and to have it safely removed be professionals before it becomes a bigger issue.
When asbestos containing materials are disturbed and the fibres become airborne, a health hazard arises, which is why it is important to be aware of asbestos while doing any renovation! You cannot identify asbestos containing materials visually, the only way to know, is to have suspect materials tested by a laboratory before additional work continues. If the product does contain asbestos, you will then want to hire a professional asbestos removal specialist to get rid of it before continuing your renovation.
Lead Containing Paint
In 1978, the federal government banned lead-containing paint, however, lead paint is still present in millions of homes! Lead from paint and lead-contaminated dust is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning. If your home was built before 1980, you can purchase a home lead test kit or send a sample to a laboratory to see if your house has leaded paint.
Although home inspectors do not specialize in these areas and do not provide testing services, they can help identify suspect materials and make recommendations as to how to proceed and ensure a safe living environment for you and your family.