The 5 Most Dangerous Things Hiding in Your Home Right Now


Our homes are full of potentials for danger — lit candles left unattended, poisonous cleaning agents, hot stove burners. But there are a number of less-conspicuous danger-prone items in the home that all too often fly under the radar — and for that reason they are doubly dangerous. (See also: 10 Surprisingly Dangerous Things You Have in Your Home)

Read on for our roundup of the most unsuspecting hazards lurking in the modern household. Then act accordingly and make your sanctuary a safer place.

1. Long-Forgotten Prescription Pills

About 80% of the 40,000 annual drug overdose deaths in America are unintentional. More than half those overdoses are caused by pharmaceuticals, primarily prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Valium. The scary part is this: Since 1995 there has been a ten-fold increase in the number of prescriptions doctors are writing for painkillers. That means there are more of these pills piling up in our medicine cabinets now than ever before. It used to be that we'd grab an aspirin for relief from our daily aches and pains. Now we have a whole array of choices at our fingertips that are far more potent, making the potential for an accidental overdose greater than ever.

2. Your Dog

Every year 2% of Americans suffer from a dog bite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it's the dog owners themselves who are at highest risk of being bitten. The CDC reports that adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home. That's because most people are bitten by dogs they own or know. Even the smallest, sweetest of canines can bite viciously if provoked. And while dog bites are rarely fatal, they can cause a range of other unpleasantries such as disease, infection, and deformities.

3. Loose Rugs

More than half of all falls happen in the home, and it's these at-home spills that hold the title as the leading cause of unintentional injury among adults 65 and older. One of the major causes of these tumbles is loose, unsecured rugs and damaged carpets with curled edges. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that an estimated 38,000 adults ages 65 and older are treated in emergency rooms each year for falls associated with rugs and carpets. Among the potential injuries: broken bones, head trauma, and, on rare occasion, even death.

4. Extension Cords

The power strips that help us stay powered-up and plugged-in cause about 3,300 residential fires annually, Electrical Safety Foundation International reports. About 10% of those fires result in death. Overcrowding or overuse of an extension cord can cause the insulation to deteriorate, creating a shock and fire hazard. To prevent an extension cord inferno, safety experts recommend limiting the number of devices you plug in to the strip and replacing it every few years.

5. Space Heaters

Space heaters are a tempting home heating option for homeowners and renters on a budget. They're an increasingly dangerous option, too. More than 25,000 house fires are sparked by malfunctioning space heaters every year, leading to 300 deaths and 6,000 emergency room visits for burns. If you're going to use one, be sure to keep it at least 30 inches from any flammable items or surfaces.

Any hidden household dangers we've overlooked? Please warn us in comments!

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Guest's picture
Bethany M

I would have put mold on this list.