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June 25, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Top 5 Danger Rooms

By Rachael Steil More Blogs by This Author

The kitchen... a place where the family comes together to cook scrumptious meals; a place where smells of roasted chicken and gooey, cheesy lasagna permeate the senses. But we know all too well the danger that lurks beneath. With the many war instruments (knives) and burning devices (stove, oven), you or a loved one have the potential to get hurt.

The kitchen is a parent's worst nightmare, not only for their wandering children, but for themselves. Countless times I've cut myself with a knife while chopping vegetables. Once, I even stuck my fork in the toaster in an effort to pull out a crumpled lump of toast. Getting burned while cooking happened a few times too many, and starting a fire is still an inevitable possibility.

But if you think fire is dangerous, it's time to jump into the deep end. Yes, water is the ultimate element of danger. Innocent-looking, right? Not when you combine it with the bathroom, where about 70% of all home accidents occur. Anything from slippery floors, a contributor to "the leading cause of injury/death among senior citizens falling," to accidents with electrical appliances near water occur every day. Even my mom has experienced mishandling of appliances when she grabbed her plugged-in curling iron--the metal top--with her bare hands. Yes, even the most intelligent of our species do stupid things (I have to say this because my mom is a math teacher. Apparently one hand plus one hot iron didn't add up in her head).

Okay, so we make mistakes. But how can we prevent these accidents from occurring often, if at all?

1. Bathroom

When it comes to the most dangerous room of the house, it's important to install grab bars that attach to the wall for support over the toilet. Usually, this is just installed for senior citizens, but it can come in handy even for us young folks, too. A mat outside of the shower or bathtub is especially useful (I've already experienced that slippery fall this year after walking two steps off the mat. So make sure the next step you take is a dry one). It might be wise to keep the door unlocked, too, just in case you do fall and need outside help immediately.

Also, avoid using electrical appliances near the shower or bathtub. Unplug these appliances when they are not in use. Or, if they are in use, make sure to think before you touch (as in, don't make my mom's painful mistake with the curling iron).

2. Kitchen

Yes, the kitchen is still a dangerous place to occupy. If you have children, make sure to install cabinet and drawer locks. Keep pan handles facing inward while cooking (not over the side) and keep kitchen mits on the ready to grab hot pots and pans. Be sure to keep anything flammable (like the mits or towels) at least three feet away from any hot surfaces, such as the stove. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies, and make sure to wipe grease from the pans to avoid grease fires.

3. Living Room

Children love to climb furniture, so make sure you are able to see them play in the living room. It's best to arrange the furniture so that it is not near windows, too--a tumble out the window is worse than one off the couch. Keep the stairs clear (rule number one: no toys on the stairs!) and set up a baby gate if you have small children.

4. Basement

What's the best place for mold to thrive? Moisture. Any water problem in the basement (flooding, for instance) will take weeks to dry out since there's often little to no sunlight or ventilation. It's probably no surprise then that the basement can host dangerous molds which irritate immune systems and asthma. Make sure to inspect the basement for mold, especially on drywall, wood, and insulation. Dust and dirt helps the mold to grow, so keep the basement as clean as possible from time to time. The clearest sign that there's mold in the basement will be a musty smell. If you can't find the source of the mold, you can opt for mold testing.

5. Padlock the Poison

Wherever you hide your dangerous-if-ingested household items (cleaners, medicines, toxic bleaches, pesticides, oven and drain cleaners, paint solvents, polishes, and waxes) keep them on a high, sturdy shelf and locked up. It might be best to keep the Poison Control Centers number (800-222-1222) nearby as well.

Even the seemingly safest of places have dangers we overlook. As long as you do the best you can and keep your eyes and ears open to what goes on around the house, you and your family will be safer for it.


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