The 6 Most Dangerous Appliances in Your House
At a time when homeland security ranks high on many Americans'
safety lists, it's ironic that a major cause of deaths in
the United States occurs right in our own homes: Deaths from
According to a series of new Home Safety Council-funded studies
conducted at the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention
Research Center, the most up-to-date statistics available,
18,048 people died due to unintentional home injuries each
year in the United States between 1992 and 1999. And in 1998,
12 million people were injured at home to the extent they
required medical attention.
Many of these injuries stem from poisonings,
falls and fires, but there is another source of danger in
your home that you may not have noticed: appliances. The following
home appliances can indeed pose a risk to your health if you
don't take caution and use them safely.
1. Space Heaters
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates
that space heaters are the source of 21,800 home fires every
year, and about 300 people die annually as a result of the
related fires. Other concerns with space heaters include natural
gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, burns and electric shock.
To keep safe and still enjoy the added warmth that a space
heater can provide:
Keep heaters at least three feet from walls, bedding,
clothing, pets and people
Turn the heater off when you leave the room or when you
go to sleep for the night
Don't leave a portable heater running unattended
Never dry socks or gloves on the heater
Don't use extension cords with electrical space heaters
For more information, CPSC offers a free booklet titled "What
You Should Know about Space Heaters," available at www.cpsc.gov.
2. Gas/Electric Stoves/Ovens
Never leave gas (or electric) burners unattended. Cooking
is one of the leading causes of home fires in the United
Both gas and electric stoves/ovens can cause burns and fires.
Be sure to keep stovetops clear of food crumbs that could
catch fire as well as other flammable objects like dish towels-and
never leave a stove unattended!
3. Clothes Dryers
How often do you forget to clean the lint filter in your
dryer? It's an honest mistake, but one that could cause a
fire. According to CPSC, about 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and
10 injuries are associated with clothes dryers each year,
so always remember to clean the lint screen as often as possible.
Not only is this safer, but it will also keep your dryer running
more efficiently. Other safe dryer tips include:
Never leave the dryer running when you're not at home
Vent the dryer to the outdoors (not to a wall or attic)
Don't put synthetic fabrics, plastic, rubber or foam
into a dryer (they retain heat, which can cause a fire)
Dishwashers are ripe with hidden dangers that are especially
dangerous to kids: scalding water, sharp utensils and moving
parts that tiny hands may try to grab. If you have small children,
make sure you don't leave them unattended with a running dishwasher.
And, as an adult, be careful when opening a dishwasher-the
steam that comes out can be extremely hot!
5. Electric Mixers
It goes without saying that you shouldn't put your hands
anywhere near a running mixer blade, but this also goes for
spoons and other kitchen utensils that you may be tempted
to use (they can easily be broken and the shards can hit you
in the face). Another danger? Cleaning the blades should be
done with extreme caution-they're extremely sharp!
Hot irons can quickly cause second-degree burns-even
while they're cooling. Kids are especially at risk.
Young kids can quickly be burned by a hot iron-and one study
found that 74 percent of such burns occurred among children
who were supervised! According to Michael Carius, M.D., chairman
of the emergency department at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut:
"It's usually the hands that get burned, because kids
touch the irons, and kids often don't let go when something
is hot, so they end up with second-degree burns, which blister.
These warrant medical attention; they are potentially a
source of infection, which can lead to scarring and loss
Always take care to turn off the iron immediately when it's
not in use, and remember that it will still be hot, and therefore
a potential danger, while it's cooling.
For more home safety tips, don't miss another of SixWise.com's
safe-living article, The
Six Silent Killers in Your Home: How to Detect and Eliminate
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These 7 Dangers Hiding in Your Home?
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