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Creating a safe home environment should be on the top of everyone’s list of priorities because home is where you should be able to relax and re-energize, not where deadly accidents happen. Luckily, the U.S. is equipped with many emergency systems and departments that are ready and waiting to help in the event that an accident occurs, but if you could do something to prevent it altogether, wouldn’t you?

Parents aren’t the only ones who need to safe-proof their houses, and children aren’t the only ones in danger of being the victim of a tragic home accident. There are simple changes you can make to your home that will instantly eliminate an accident waiting to happen, and most of them won’t cost you a dime; and the tips that do cost a little coin, are absolutely necessary. After all, you bring the people and animals you love into your home and you wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to any of them, so what are a few changes?

Some of the hazards on this list will shock you because they might mimic something at your house, and in which case it’s important that you make some updates. Some of the accidents suggested on this list can even be deadly, so it’s time to stop putting off testing the safety of your home. Better safe than sorry, right?

15. Unattended Candles

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Although candles can be amazing for relaxation and setting the mood, they can cause serious damage to your home. This may not be new information to you, as candles obviously pose a threat as they have an open burning flame at all times, but they may pose a bigger threat than you think. Unattended candles can burn too long causing them to melt onto any surrounding surface, they can be knocked over by children or animals causing house fires, and an open window can blow a breeze so hard that the flame can change direction and light up curtains or nearby furniture. Between 2009 and 2013 over 9,000 house fires were set accidentally by candles, causing serious financial difficulty to many families. There are so many options like electric oil burners which don’t get hot enough to cause a fire, and they even have flame-less candles that look and smell identical to the real thing–don’t take the chance.

14. Constant Extension Cord Usage

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Extension cords have helped with our ever growing need for more plugins, and they’ve made electronic multitasking possible. However, they pose a couple threats that you actually might not be aware of. Leaving all outlets in use can actually cause fires, as the circuit board in the extension cords are overworked. When they’re not in use, experts suggest turning the red switch off or physically unplugging them to prevent a disaster. Not only can they catch on fire, but if you’re not careful you can trip on the long cords quite easily.

13. Rugs Without Slip Guards

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Rugs make hardwood and tile floors more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable on your toes, but if they’re not secured properly, they can become death traps. The last thing you need is to go flying because you forgot to add a non-slip pad underneath your rug. It keeps the rug secure and in place so you don’t break a tale bone simply trying to walk across the floor. They’re relatively inexpensive and can be cut to any shape for a perfect fit. Don’t think this technique works for stairs, though–but we’ll get more into that in a minute.

12. Combustible Items Near Your Stove

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Okay, this might seem like a rather obvious thing not to do, but you’d be surprised how quickly you can forget. Many people come home from a long day at work and grab the mail or tidy up before making dinner, rearranging things around the kitchen, which can cause fatal accidents to occur. Before turning on your stove, make sure there are no combustible items near the hot surface to avoid any accidental fires. It’s easy to let these things slip your mind, especially in today’s busy tempo.

11. Lack Of Bathmats Or Railing

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Ideally, your bathroom should have multiple layers of protection against the constant threat of slipping. You should use a rubber or plastic bath mat inside the tub to prevent slipping while showering, a fabric non-slip mat for outside of the tub, and for extra protection you may even want to have railings. It may seem like a bit much, but all it takes is one time to fall and seriously hurt yourself. These extra steps can help save yourself, your children, or even your parents from hurting themselves and they’re all inexpensive solutions.

10. Sharp Edges

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Sharp furniture edges can be extremely dangerous and essentially invisible. Most tables have sharp corners to form rectangles or squares, and we don’t usually think twice about it. The problem is, when you have small children running around, it’s easy to get hurt. The sharp corners are in the perfect position to poke the eye of a little one or an adults hip at a moments notice. Sometimes it’s like they come out of nowhere, I swear. However, there are some simple steps you can take like sanding down the corners and refinishing the stain, adding rubber corners, or buying furniture with rounded edges.

9. Access To Cleaners And Pesticides

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It’s always nice having your everyday household cleaning chemicals within arms reach so that you can always get to them, whenever you need. The problem occurs when you have small children around that like to get into things that aren’t meant to be played with. The U.S. poison control hotline receives information of an accidental poisoning every 15 seconds, a number that is alarmingly high. To prevent tragedies like this, simply keep all cleaning chemicals and contaminated supplies up high, out of the reach of any curious child.

8. The Wrong Padding For Stairs

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Okay, so remember when I mentioned that the non-slip rug guards wouldn’t work for stairs? Well, it’s true. Slick wooden stairs and even stairs with rugs on them will not prevent you from slipping down them. The slip guards will keep the rugs in place, but the rugs themselves might be the culprit–especially if you have socks on. Instead of using the wrong material and learning the hard way, instead, you should use no-slip tape, which is specifically designed to eliminate any danger.

7. Using Inappropriate Stools

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It may seem like a pain in the butt to go out of your way to grab a stepping stool to reach whatever it is you’re trying to retrieve, but it’s totally worth it. Many people make the mistake of using the closest solution to them, like a wheeling office chair, or a not so sturdy box, and it goes terribly wrong. Before breaking an ankle or god forbid something more serious, invest in a stepping stool and store it in an easily accessible location.

6. Messy Floors

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Partying all night and leaving the mess for the morning or forgetting to clean up after play time can actually be more dangerous than you think. It’s not uncommon to have a bit of a mess around, but keeping your floor clear of any objects big enough to trip on, could save your life. That may seem a bit dramatic, but it’s not because seriously hurting yourself by falling only gets more probable as you age. This goes for just about anything that can cause you to trip from slippery magazines to terrifyingly sharp Legos.

5. Radon Gas

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Radon gas is a deadly, cancer-causing gas, that many Americans don’t even know about. It’s odourless, tasteless, and invisible, which is what makes it so deadly; and the worst part is–it might be in your home. It has been known to cause lung cancer in over 21,000 Americans every year, and children are especially sensitive to radon due to their high respiration rates and rapidly dividing cells, according to Radon.com. Radon is a natural gas that occurs when uranium breaks down in the soil and enters the home through lower basement levels, and it’s estimated that over six million U.S. homes are infected. Luckily you can test for radon with at home kits, and by using online resources that show if you live in a radon zone.

4. Mold

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Molds are a natural part of life, just as anything else organic to this planet is; however, there are a few kinds of mold you should be worried about. You shouldn’t have to worry about mold unless it enters your house through excess moisture either caused by water damage or other environmental factors. If you find mold in your home you should wash it off from all hard non-porous materials, and any material that is absorbent should be replaced. If the mold is extensive you may want to call a professional, just know that you can always buy at home test kits to see what you’re working with.

 

3. Dust

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A little dust here and there never hurt anyone, but a lot of dust has. Household dust is made up mainly of up of human and animal hairs, pollen, fabric fibers, and minerals from organic materials. That being said, your dust can also consist of toxic chemicals from cleaning products and just about anything hazardous in the surrounding environment. If you live in a city, your dust can contain building materials from local construction, toxic chemicals from traffic, and even feces. It’s a good idea to dust frequently and efficiently.

2. Phthalates

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Phthalates are chemicals used to make many household products and supplies that you use every day, which makes them essentially impossible to avoid. Here’s the issue, phthalates have been known to cause birth defects among other adverse effects. Another issue is that most products don’t legally have to label is they contain any phthalates, so you won’t be able to tell without extensive and expensive laboratory testing. A good rule to go by is to just try and eliminate as many of them out of your life as possible, by avoiding plastics and anything containing “fragrance”.

1. Generators Too Close

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Portable generators are great for situations when you need temporary electricity, like camping or when building a home like pictured above, The danger comes into play when they are used in enclosed spaces like garages or houses, in which case they can produce toxic levels of carbon monoxide, cause fires, and electrocute people.  Keep the generator 200 feet away from any building or flammable object.