Creating a Safe Home Environment

Injuries, accidents, and poisonings are common in homes. Taking the following precautions can help prevent them from happening in your home and help to keep yourself and your family safe.

Poisoning Prevention and Control

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 13 seconds a poison control center in the U.S. answers a call about a possible poisoning. More than 90% of these exposures happen in the home. Poisoning can be caused by household cleaning products, medicines, pesticides, carbon monoxide, and lead.

For more information on preventing poisonings in the home, visit the New England Poison Control Center's website.

Injury and Falls Prevention

Many unintentional and preventable injuries and deaths occur in the home. More than 11,000 people are estimated to die each year from injuries resulting from falls, fires, drownings, poisonings, etc. Find out what you can to prevent injuries in the home.

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. In fact, one in every three adults ages 65 and older fall each year. Some falls are minor, but others can result in serious injury—such as a broken hip or a head injury—as well as a loss of independence and mobility. Learn more about falls prevention.

Safe Sleep

Every year, some babies die while sleeping. The Health Department has developed guidelines for safe sleep with the hope that you and your loved ones will not have to experience such a loss. Learn more about safe sleep.

Safe Drinking Water

Drinking water can become contaminated from natural or human causes. Most contaminants you cannot see, smell, or taste. Contaminants can affect your health.

If you are a private well owner, you are in charge of maintaining and testing your water system. The only way to know if there are elevated levels of contaminants in your private well water is to test for them.

The Health Department recommends that you test your private well water for:

  • Total coliform bacteria – test every year
  • Inorganic chemicals such as arsenic, nitrate, and manganese – test every five years
  • Gross alpha radiation – test every five years

Find out more about drinking water contaminants, health effects, and what to test for.

Food Safety

Almost everyone has experienced foodborne illness, usually called “food poisoning.” Often these illnesses are merely uncomfortable and inconvenient and don't require medical care. However, such infections can also result in very serious consequences, including hospitalization and death.

Changes in the way food is processed and distributed, international markets, and consumer demand have altered our food supply. Today, food may reach the table through long chains of production, packaging, and transportation, providing many opportunities for contamination. All these factors increase the risk for foodborne illness.

Although large disease outbreaks associated with restaurants generally get more public attention, it is just as easy for foodborne illness to occur at home. If food is handled and prepared safely, most of these illnesses can be avoided.

Find out what you can do to keep food safe.

Learn more about Home Safety.