Blue Water Healthy Living

5 household items that create surprising hazards

By Michelle Kuschel

Most know to safely stow poisonous cleaners. But other items can also be hazards.

Your home has well-lit stairways, household cleaners in an upper cabinet, and smoke detectors with fresh batteries — so it’s safe, right? Here are some potential household hazards you may not have considered:

  1. Powered-up treadmill: The rotating belt can cause friction rashes, broken bones, and snagged clothing in an instant. Keep the treadmill in a closed room, turn off the power switch (or unplug it) and store the safety key away from the machine so that children can’t accidentally turn it on.
  2. Refrigerator magnets and coin/button batteries: Though convenient, small magnets are potentially dangerous for your children. Keep the magnets high and out of reach. Beyond a choking hazard, if swallowed, they can harm kids’ stomachs and digestive tracts. The same is true for coin lithium “button” batteries. Tape shut battery doors on items powered by coin batteries so kids can’t access them.
  3. Malfunctioning garage door: Regularly test your garage door to make sure it operates smoothly and retracts when an object is in its path. If not, it could injure anyone walking or standing underneath. Call a professional if the garage door, spring, or sensors need repair — you shouldn’t tackle this job yourself. They can ensure the correct installation necessary for your safety.
  4. Plastic packages: Trying to open rigid “clamshell” packages with knives or scissors can cause cuts and puncture wounds. Plus the sharp plastic can also gouge skin. Instead, use tin snips, a manual can opener, or scissors specially designed for this purpose.
  5. Electronic appliances: The advanced features on today’s high-tech appliances make them easy to use. But electronics can short circuit and lead to kitchen fires. From burner ignitions that turn on “by themselves” to refrigerator light bulbs that stay on and overheat, watch for warning signals: Display panels often flash unusual messages if there’s a problem.

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