Your Crock-Pot Probably Won’t Kill You, but These Common Household Items Might
First, a friendly warning: The following content includes major spoilers for a recent episode of NBC’s award-winning show This Is Us. Continue reading at your own risk.
If you’re up-to-date on the show, then you already know the awful truth about how the deadly fire at the Pearson’s house started. After a series of flashbacks establishing the origin of the faulty slow cooker (well-meaning neighbors who didn’t want to throw away their old stuff), we see the outdated yet still functional appliance spark and quickly set the whole kitchen ablaze.
Watching the Pearson family memories literally go up in flames was heart-wrenching for sure. But it also caused an uproar in real-life homes, with show fans tweeting that they planned to ditch their slow cookers immediately. The brand released a lengthy statement in response to the episode, saying that it’s important, “consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations.” The spokesperson went on to say that the company has never received complaints resembling the fictional events that happened in the infamous This Is Us episode.
Some television events are strictly for entertainment and it’s safe to say that your slow cooker most likely won’t burn your house down. But if that episode has you worried about home safety, read on to discover the common household items that really could kill you.
1. Poisonous plants
Plants can improve air quality in your home and even make you feel happier. Decorating with live plants is always a good decision — but it’s not without its risks.
Some popular plants are also poisonous if ingested, which poses a real problem for kids and pets (or even curious adults). Aloe, fig trees, daffodils, iris, lily-of-the-valley, ivy, and mistletoe all contain toxins and could make you very sick or even kill you if you ingested them.
Next: You might have one of these in your kitchen.
2. Gas ranges
Gas stoves are all the rage right now — but they could potentially kill you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of poisoning death in the United States. Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it’s colorless and odorless, so it often kills people before they even realize there’s a problem. And since carbon monoxide detectors are less common than smoke alarms, it puts people at risk.
If you have a gas oven, car, space heater, or charcoal grill, you are at risk for this type of poisoning. Install a carbon monoxide detector and always stay on the safe side.
Next: There are two ways this common item could hurt you.
3. Extension cords
Forget the fact that you could trip over one and break your neck. Extension cords are also serious fire hazards (much worse than slow cookers) and result in about 50 deaths per year due to their likelihood of starting a house fire.
These fires usually happen from overloading the system, so be sure to use your extension cords wisely. Purchase your power strips with a breaker switch and be sure to switch it to the off position before you go to sleep and any time you aren’t using the items you have plugged in.
Next: This product can work too well — and it could be fatal.
4. Electric blankets
Staying warm during winter months can get expensive — and it could cost you your life.
Electric blankets, like many other devices, obviously pose a fire hazard risk. But what’s worse is that they can also cause heat stroke. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports at least two deaths that were attributed to electric blankets.
There’s also some speculation that using these blankets could lead to cancer or reproductive problems. And while that hasn’t been proven, it seems safer to just stick with regular blankets instead.
Next: There’s a reason there are strict regulations when you have one of these at home.
5. Hot tubs and swimming pools
The chemical chlorine is great at killing most contaminates in your pool or hot tub, but there is one chlorine-resistant parasite called cryptosporidium that has caused over 1,000 illnesses and even one death. The parasite lives and reproduces in your gut, causing all kinds of unpleasant issues. Symptoms include diarrhea and leaking bladder.
Pools and hot tubs also pose the obvious drowning risk, especially for small children and pets. About one in five people who die from drowning are younger than 14.
Next: This is the number one cause of house fires.
It’s probably a coincidence that “dryer” rhymes with “fire” but the fact remains that this household appliance causes close to 3,000 house fires per year, leading to hundreds of injuries and sometimes even death. The National Fire Protection Association reports that it’s the No. 1 cause of house fires in the United States. So stop demonizing that slow cooker.
Reduce your risk by cleaning your lint trap every time you do laundry. You should also take the time to remove lint that’s trapped in the vent pipe every few months.
Next: This cleaning tool could injure you and you wouldn’t even know it.
7. Pressure washers
A pressure washer dispels water at high rates of speed, which is great for cleaning mildew off your deck but is terrible if you misuse this common household tool.
The problem with pressure washers is that they can cause injuries that seem minor at first, so the injured party often delays treatment. This leads to an increased risk of infection, disability, or even amputation.
Anytime you mix electricity and water there’s a chance for electric shock, which could kill you. The gas-powered engine also puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning if you aren’t using it in a well-ventilated area.
Next: You can overdose on this common over-the-counter medication.
It’s easier than you think to overdose on Tylenol — or any medication with acetaminophen (APAP) such as Excedrin, Pamprin, Midol, Mucinex, Robitussin, and Vicks.
Setting aside the famous case of Tylenol getting laced with cyanide, it’s possible to overdose on APAP. In fact, there are approximately 500 APAP associated deaths per year and more than 60,000 cases of liver damage. So the next time you have muscle aches, don’t just pop a handful of Excedrin. Adults shouldn’t consume more than 3,000 mg per day.
Next: You probably never thought this daily use household items could cause so many problems.
Next time you pick up a tube of toothpaste, look closely at the warning label. It’ll instruct you to seek immediate medical attention if you consume too much.
Toothpaste overdose may seem silly, but it’s no joke — an overdose can cause issues like stomach pain and intestinal blockages. But when the toothpaste contains fluoride, overdose becomes even more severe. Convulsions, difficulty breathing, and even a heart attack could happen.
Skipping toothpaste is a bad plan, but just be sure to use the recommended amount, and try not to swallow it.
Next: This convenience item can be very dangerous when it’s not handled by a professional.
10. Air conditioners
A leaky air conditioner is best handled by a professional.
These summer day lifesavers use Freon to keep you comfortable in the humidity, which can be poisonous to people. Refrigerant poisoning leads to scary side effects like heart palpitations, seizures, and oxygen deprivation to your lungs and cells, which could kill you. If you notice anything leaking from your air conditioner, don’t try to handle it yourself. Call a professional to stay safe … and stay alive.
Next: You almost definitely have this item in your home, and it’s responsible for sending a child to the ER every 30 minutes.
11. Flatscreen TVs
Unless it’s mounted to the wall, your flatscreen TV could seriously injure or even kill the small people living in (or visiting) your home. According to a 2012 study, a falling television sends a child to the ER every 30 minutes. Yikes.
Next: These plentiful items cause truly awful complications.
Any small items can become choking hazards, but magnets are particularly dangerous because they can stick together inside your body, causing horrifying complications like bowel perforations, ischemia, sepsis, and obstructions. Any kids or pets should be closely monitored around magnets from the fridge or anywhere else in your home.
Next: This item spreads joy … and it’s a huge fire hazard.
13. Christmas trees
No, it wasn’t just a problem for the Griswold family. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that emergency workers respond to just over 200 Christmas tree fires per year.
Avoid becoming another statistic by sticking to fresh, slightly sticky trees rather than any that are overly dried out. Keep your tree away from radiators, fireplaces, and any other heat sources. Always remember to turn off the lights whenever the tree is unattended.
Next: This household item could cause you to lose a finger.
14. Snow blowers
It seems obvious, but it still needs to be said: never use your fingers to clear a blockage in your snow blower. Unfortunately, 9,000 people since 2003 haven’t heeded this warning, and have lost fingers due to snow blower accidents. And while that won’t necessarily kill you, it’s not something you want to happen.
Next: These items are trending — and they could really hurt you.
15. Pressure cookers
You’ve probably noticed that pressure cookers have become increasingly popular lately. But even though they can cut your dinner prep time in half, these appliances can also be dangerous.
Several reports of malfunctioning pressure cookers, including one mom who received third degree burns all over her body, have been reported. Thankfully, the injured mom had set her 12-week-old son down a few moments prior to the incident. If she hadn’t, the outcome could have been disastrous — or even fatal.
When using a pressure cooker, always follow the instructions and be sure to stand back and keep children away when you’re opening it.
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