Most of us view our homes as our sanctuary or refuge, so the saying goes ‘there’s no place like home’. While it’s fun to take family vacations and go on media trips, I always get such a sense of relief when I return home. But what if this place I call my castle is really a home lurking with hidden dangers to me and my family?
I remember when my son was around the age of twelve (the age when kids realize they know everything better than their parents) and he used to joke by calling me ‘Safety Mom’. He felt that I was overly cautious when doing things like making him wear a seat belt or come inside before dark. I was recently asked to write about the Kidde Worry-Free CO Alarm, and it got me thinking about carbon monoxide and other hidden dangers that might be lurking in my home. So, here I am being the ‘Safety Mom’ again and it’s a title I will gladly accept.
Hidden Dangers That Might Be Lurking In Your Home
1. Mold – Does your bathroom, closet or basement have an old musty odor? Blame mold spores. They make themselves at home in damp spots. Mold is something I have been battling for years in my older home, with bathrooms that have no ventilation system. Mold spores can trigger asthma symptoms and allergic reactions. Mold often grows in a circular pattern and can be black, brown, white, yellow, pink or greenish-blue. It often grows in bathrooms, basement walls and carpets, closets and on wooden backs and bottoms of furniture stored in damp spaces.
What can you do about mold? Keep rooms well ventilated. Operate an oscillating fan in the bathroom after showering. Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity in mold-prone rooms below 50%. I purchased a dry vapor steam vacuum to remove existing mold from my home, when I moved in a couple of years ago. It worked well.
2. Air Quality – Believe it or not, the air we breathe inside is actually three times more polluted than the air we breathe outside, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Indoor air ranks as one of the top five hazards to human health. And it’s no wonder why, between all the dust trapped in our carpets and couches, and the toxins lurking in the paint on our walls or the cleaning products in our cabinets.
What you can do to improve air quality? Maintaining airflow throughout your home is key. Take advantage of days when the weather is nice, and open as many windows as you can. Purchase an air filter. Groom them regularly to cut down on dander. Also, be sure to clean drapes regularly, since they’re total dust magnets. The same goes for the carpet.
3. Cleaning Products – More than one million children under 5 years old are exposed each year to potential poisons such as medicines and household chemicals, the AAPCC reports. A 2008 study even found that moms-to-be who were exposed to chemicals found in bleach, air fresheners, and other cleaning products increased their baby’s chances of developing asthma by 41 percent. Like medications, the bright colors and sweet scents of cleaning products make them appealing to little ones.
What can you do? Read your labels. Ingredients to steer clear of include: Sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldahyde, bleach, ammonia, butyl cellusolve, sulfamic acid, sulfuric acid, petroleum distillates, lye, and mopholine. It’s best to buy green cleaning products that don’t include these ingredients. Store cleaning products on high shelves, out of reach of kids. If you have to store cleaners in low cabinets, use baby-proof locks.
4. Carbon monoxide – You can’t see it, and you can’t smell it, but carbon monoxide (CO) is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the U.S. It’s produced by improperly working appliances, fireplaces, and it can even seep into the house from a running car in the garage. Typically, the danger comes from fuel-burning appliances: furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, clothes dryers, water heaters and space heaters, as well as automobile exhaust from attached garages.
What can you do about carbon monoxide? Buy a carbon monoxide detector like Kidde’s Worry-Free CO Alarm. I just installed one in my home and know I’ll be sleeping better at night knowing my family is safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Kidde Worry-Free carbon monoxide (CO) alarms offer 10 years of continuous detection from the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America – carbon monoxide. The UL-listed alarms are the first and only models to contain a 10-year sensor as well as a sealed-in lithium battery proven to power the alarm for a decade. These two state-of-the-art technologies combine to create a premier level of protection. Homeowners have peace of mind knowing their CO alarm is always on, and they never have to be hassled by low-battery chirps or replacement. Until now, a CO sensor operated for five to seven years, based on the manufacturer. The Worry-Free alarms last nearly twice as long as the average model.
Benefits of Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Goodbye late night low battery chirps: The sealed lithium battery is tamper proof and provides 10 years of continuous power, meaning no low battery chirps or battery replacement
Longest Sensor Life Available: Carbon monoxide sensor is proven effective for 10 years – nearly twice as long as some models Money Savings: no batteries to buy and replace every six months, save up to $40 over the life of the alarm
Quick and Easy Installation: simply slide the alarm onto the mounting bracket and it activates automatically. Place on a desk, shelf, table or the wall.
It’s Always On: 24 hr/day, 7 day/week protection from CO
End of Life Hush Button: After 10 years of power, the alarm will sound a warning to indicate it needs replacing. The hush button will temporarily silence the warning for up to three days.
Two models of the Kidde Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm will be available at The Home Depot as of March 2013. Suggested retail prices range from $40 to $50.
This post is sponsored by Kidde. Connect with Kidde on Facebook and follow @KiddeSafety on Twitter.
Kate F. says
Thanks for the tips. They’re definitely important.
CO freaks me out the most.
I need to be more mindful about possible hidden dangers. We need to improve our air quality here.
This reminds me that I need to get a carbon monoxide detector. The whole thing about not knowing if it’s in your house freaks me out.
we have been scouring our house and trying to keep up with safety due to my son’s many allergies, one of which is mold. we actually have clear plastic over his windows and vents covered up, etc. there are two carbon monoxide detectors (which every family should have!). thanks for the great tip list, it is really important for families to be aware of these things.
barry fliegelman says
carbon is the worst
Yes I dont think alot of people really realize all the toxics in our air. Thanks for pointing them out. I try not to use most cleaning products because I get sick if I use them. I also have heard about the smell coming off new carpeting being harmful too.