5 hidden home hazards

Each year millions of North Americans are injured as a result of consumer products in their homes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has identified five hidden home hazards that put our family members — particularly the littlest ones — at risk.

Top 5 hidden home hazards


Magnets can be very small and powerful these days, making them popular in toys, building sets and jewelry. These magnets, if swallowed, can cause serious injuries to children. Magnets that fall out of toys are a particular risk, but so are the small intact pieces of building sets that contain magnets.

Experts warn that if two or more magnets, or a magnet and another metal object are swallowed separately, they can attract to one another through intestinal walls and become trapped in place. While some parents and physicians may think that the materials will pass through the child without causing harm, magnets can attract in the body and twist or pinch the intestines, causing holes, blockages, infection and death, if not treated promptly.

Recalled Products

As much as possible stay informed about any product safety recalls. While government agencies can get dangerous products (such as recalled toys, clothing, children’s jewelry, appliances, and electrical products) off the store shelves, it’s up to the consumer to remove them from the home. Stay on top of news reports about recalls, or find the information online at the CPSC website or in Canada on the Health Canada site.

Unstable furniture or appliances

Tip-overs pose a serious risk for injury or even death, especially to young children. Be sure that all furniture, TVs and other appliances are stable even if children should pull or climb on them. Particular dangers include: television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, and chests. TVs placed on top of furniture can pose a particularly dangerous risk.

Also be aware of items left on top of the TV, furniture, and countertops, such as toys, remote controls as well as treats that might tempt kids to climb. Tip: For added security, anchor heavy furniture to the floor or attach to a wall. Freestanding ranges and stoves should be installed with anti-tip brackets.

Windows and Coverings

Prevent accidental strangling by using cordless blinds or keep cords and chains permanently out of reach of children. And keep in mind that children can also strangle on any window drapery that can be formed into a loop.

Other tips to prevent strangulation:

–Cut looped cords and install a safety tassel at the end of each pull cord or use a tie-down device, and install inner cord stays.

— Do not place a child’s crib or playpen within reach of a window blind.

Of course, the dangers of windows don’t end with window coverings and pull cords. While children love to play around windows, they can also, unfortunately, fall out of them. Do not rely on window screens to protect them: these screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep kids in.

Pool and Spa Drains

Did you know that the suction from a pool drain could be so powerful that it can hold even an adult under water? The body can become sealed against the drain or hair can be pulled in and tangled.

The cause for these entrapments is usually due to missing or broken drain covers. Consider installing a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), which detects when a drain is blocked and automatically shuts off the pool pump or interrupts the water circulation.

Safe Kids Canada
Sources: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; Health Canada.