Here are the 10 most dangerous things in your home


Older Americans should consider improvements to lower the risk

Older Americans are increasingly choosing to “age in place,” remaining in their homes instead of moving into an assisted living facility.

A 2021 survey by AARP found that, if given the choice, 77% of adults over 50 would prefer to age in place. That’s having an undeniable effect on the housing market, but unfortunately, it may be contributing to injury statistics.

Older people are more vulnerable to injuries from falls and a home they easily navigated when they were in their 40s might be more dangerous when they reach their late 70s. However, if they've lived there the whole time they might not recognize the danger.

Dr. C. Patrick Shahan, a trauma surgeon and professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says homes can pose dangers to both the very young and the very old.

"I have seen the term 'age-proofing' of a home used, which I like the most because it encompasses safety at all ages," Shahan told ConsumerAffairs. "The safety of a living space is important at all ages, but especially at the extremes when people are at higher risk than most adults."

A recent ConsumerAffairs analysis of home-related injuries identified the 10 most dangerous things in your home and found that falling on the floor was the leading cause of home injuries. That includes slipping on a wet surface or tripping over a rug or piece of furniture.

The list doesn’t include a single sharp edge or electric appliance. Rather, the list is made up of ordinary things found in a home and that are usually taken for granted.

  1. Floors

  2. Stairs or steps

  3. Beds or bed frames

  4. Bathtubs or showers

  5. Tables

  6. Chairs

  7. Ceilings or walls

  8. Sofas

  9. Rugs

  10. Toilets

2 million floor injuries

Floor-related injuries surpassed 2 million in 2022 for the first time in a decade, causing 2,000 deaths. That was a dramatic 45% increase  in injuries from the year before.

Mishaps on steps led to more than 1 million hospital visits in 2022.  More than 73,000 stair-related injuries at home were severe enough for the patient to be admitted to the hospital.

Bathrooms were also a large contributor to injuries, especially since surfaces can get wet and slippery and many older bathrooms are small, making it difficult to maneuver. Anyone planning to age in place should probably consider making some safety modifications, such as:

  • Grab bars in bathrooms

  • Walk-in showers or tubs

  • Raised toilets

  • Non-slip surfaces on steps

  • Sturdy handrails on both sides of stairways

  • Removing some furniture from small and over-crowded rooms

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