Avoiding accidents in your home

Reviewed by Jackie Kloosterboer

Updated September 11, 2023

We all like to feel safe in our homes, but unfortunately accidents do happen. Here are just a few of the most common type of household accidents, and some steps to prevent them.

Emergency department


  • Put all your harmful household chemicals in a locked cabinet if you’ve got small children in the house.
  • Don’t forget to hide dishwasher soap pods—they look quite inviting to curious children.
  • Don’t mix your chemicals. You may inadvertently create a toxic gas.
  • Keep the Poison Control number posted near the phone, or programmed into your cell phone.
  • Keep a close eye on the kids while you’re using any household cleansers. Don’t leave your children unattended while you go to answer the door.


  • Never leave frying items unattended.
  • Keep matches and lighters locked away so children can’t reach them.
  • Don’t wear loose fitting clothing when cooking.
  • Check the temperature on your water heater. Use the “low-medium” setting to prevent scalding.
  • Keep pot handles turned in when cooking. Sadly, we’ve all heard of children who have pulled down pots of boiling water on themselves, causing serious life threatening burns.


  • Replace any old, worn extension cords.
  • Cover electrical outlets when you have small children in the home.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from water or wet hands.
  • Don’t overload outlets. In older homes with outdated electrical systems, overloading is a more common issue.
  • Be careful with portable electric heaters. They can be an electrocution hazard in the presence of water, not to mention a fire hazard if there are papers or other combustibles nearby.
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Knife cuts

  • Focus on what you’re cutting, and don’t get distracted by other things happening in the kitchen.
  • Don’t leave a sharp knife lying in a sinkful of soapy water. Wash it as soon as you’ve used it, and put it away.
  • Use a bagel cutter. Or at least put the bagel down on a cutting board.
  • Keep your knives properly sharpened. A sharp knife requires less pressure, so it will be less likely to slip and cut you. If you drop a knife, let it fall. Just step back, and don’t try to grab it.


As we age, the chances of injuring ourselves in a fall increase tremendously. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, more than half of all injuries among Canadians 65 years and over are due to falls. One-third of Canadian seniors will fall once each year, and half will fall more than once. Among seniors, 20% of deaths related to injury are as a result of a fall.

Here are a few tips to prevent falls around your home:

  • Have non-slip surfaces in the tub or shower.
  • Install well-anchored grab bars by the toilet and bath.
  • Use a raised toilet seat, and a bath seat in the shower, if necessary.
  • Clean up any moisture or spills immediately.
  • Tidy up loose wires and cords, to prevent tripping.
  • Use a cordless phone to avoid rushing to answer.
  • Put night lights throughout your home.
  • Use non-slip pads under any loose rugs.
  • Make sure all stairways have the appropriate railings, and are well-lit.
  • Make sure all stairways are in good repair.
  • Keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
  • Have clear pathways from the bedroom to the bathroom, as well as to the front or back door for a quick escape in an emergency.

Looking for more tips? Check out this article from Porch, where industry experts share their advice on avoiding accidents at home.

Accidents happen in the home every year in Canada. Taking a few simple steps can go a long way to preventing serious incidents. If an accident does occur and it results in damage to your home or your property, make sure to call your home insurance provider once any immediate emergencies have been addressed. If you have a comprehensive home insurance policy, any resulting damage will likely be covered.

Check your home or tenant insurance policy’s liability limit. If a visitor is injured on your property, you could find yourself facing a lawsuit.

Want to learn more? Visit our Home and Personal Safety resource centre to find more information about protecting your family and your home. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.

About the expert: Jackie Kloosterboer

Jackie Kloosterboer runs a speaking business called Survive It. As a disaster preparedness expert, Jackie facilitates upwards of 100 preparedness workshops annually to individuals and groups, working with them to prepare for whatever disaster comes their way. Jackie is the recipient of the Queens Jubilee Award and the Northwest Preparedness Society Award of Excellence, recognizing outstanding dedication to providing emergency support services and disaster preparedness education.


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Even when you take precautions, accidents can happen. Home insurance is one way to protect your family against financial losses from accidents. And, home insurance can start from as little as $12/month.

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