We’ve all heard the scary statistics about how many people are hurt or killed at home. The numbers vary depending on the study or source, but it’s estimated that 18,000 people die each year from accidental injuries in their home.
The most vulnerable are young and older people. Young kids ingest things they shouldn’t and older people fall more easily. Is it any wonder, then, that the top two dangers are falls and poisoning?
Falls. If you’ve ever been atop a ladder without a spotter, then you could have easily become a part of this statistic. Even the healthiest and strongest among us can get injured from falls. Working outside, cleaning gutters or changing a light bulb on a high ceiling offer plenty of opportunity for injury. If you or any of your loved ones qualify for the senior discount, the risk is even greater. Falls are the number one cause of injuries in seniors.
How to reduce your risk:
- Declutter. Toys, tools, clothes and shoes are great examples of clutter that can lead to falls. Who hasn’t tripped over a toy or shoe at least once and mumbled a four letter word? And what about your garage? Would you say it’s a clutter-free zone? Pick up, organize and put things in their place. This simple act alone will increase your home safety greatly and cut down on the profanity.
- Stair Security. Stairs are an accident waiting to happen. To help reduce this risk, put safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. It may be inconvenient, but so is a trip to the hospital. Also, ensure you have handrails on both sides and that they are sturdy. Consider carpet or a carpet runner down wooden stairs to provide more traction.
- Bathroom Safety. The bathroom is inherently slick. Smooth surfaces combined with moisture makes for risky slips. Consider adding grab bars in your bathroom and non-slip surfaces in your bathtubs. Also, add a night light to the bathroom to aid in late night navigation. Oh, and guys, don’t forget to put the seat down.
Poisoning. You may be thinking that kids are the prime concern here and they are, but many middle aged people are accidentally poisoned, too. When people take medications, they can tend to accidently double dose or mix medications together without realizing the potentially deadly effects. Young kids should not have access to any medication and all household chemicals should be well out of their reach.
How to reduce your risk:
- Medications. It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: only take medications prescribed to you. Keep all medications in a safe place where only those who take or give the medications can reach. Also, make sure the lights are on when when you give or take medications to reduce the risk of giving the wrong dose. Lastly, get rid of unused, unneeded or expired medications — even if you think they might help in the zombie apocalypse.
- Household Chemicals. Read, read, read the labels for all your household chemicals. You want to know what you’re putting in your home, what not to mix and what to do if there is an accident. Don’t put chemicals in non-descript containers, especially anything that resembles a food container. Keep your chemicals in their original containers to avoid confusion, misuse and potential accidents. Always wear protective clothing, such as gloves and long sleeves. At a minimum, always wear gloves to avoid absorbing a host of harmful ingredients (gloves plus clothes; cleaning in the nude is not recommended).
Other Home Safety Concerns. Falls and poisoning may be the most common home accidents, but there are other serious considerations.
- Home Fires and Burns: Check your fire alarms and have a fire escape plan rehearsed.
- Airway Obstruction: Learn CPR and keep young children’s cribs free of ‘stuff’; keep an eye out for small objects, such as coins, small toys and toy parts.
- Drowning: It’s Florida and water is everywhere. Pools, lakes, retention ponds, rivers and oceans offer plenty of danger. Even a bathtub with just an inch of water poses a danger to young children. Close off pools and other areas with standing water. The best way to reduce risk? Stay alert and keep kids close by.
If you’d like to learn more about how to protect your children, your aging family members and yourself, visit DMD Health and Safety Training to learn in depth safety practices and techniques. You’ll discover child home safety, senior safety, CPR, first aid and more. Benjamin Franklin’s famous axiom is true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.