Originally Published: May 10, 2008 8:45 p.m.
Your home should be safe and secure. So it may surprise you to learn that there are often hidden dangers lurking in homes - dangers caused by products you may use every day.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has pinpointed the "Top Five Hidden Home Hazards" to help prevent unnecessary injuries and even deaths. By being aware of the following hazards, lives can be spared and serious injuries avoided:
Magnets. Since 2005, magnets have caused one death and 86 injuries. In several hundred incidents, magnets have fallen out of toys and been swallowed by children. If two or more magnets, or a magnet and another metal object, are swallowed, they can attract to one another through intestinal walls and twist or pinch the intestines, causing holes, blockages, infection and death.
Recalled products. Each year, about 400 products are recalled. CPSC is effective at getting dangerous products off store shelves. But once a product gets into the home, the consumer has to be on the lookout. Consumers need to be aware of the latest safety recalls to keep dangerous recalled products away from family members.
Tip-overs. Tip-overs cause an average of 22 deaths per year. Furniture, TVs and ranges can tip over and crush young children. Deaths and injuries occur when children climb onto or fall against television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks and chests. Items left on top of furniture might tempt kids to climb. For added security, anchor items to the floor or attach them to a wall.
Windows and coverings. An average of 12 deaths occur each year from window cords. An average of nine children die and an estimated 3,700 are injured each year from window falls. Parents should use cordless blinds or keep cords and chains permanently out of the reach of children. Do not rely on window screens to prevent a fall. Window screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep kids in.
Pool and spa drains. The suction from a pool drain can be so powerful that it can hold a child under water. The body can become sealed against the drain or hair can be pulled in and tangled. Pool and spa owners should consider installing a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), which detects when a drain is blocked and shuts off the pump or interrupts the water circulation to prevent an entrapment.