Poisoning, falling, and fires are the main culprits in accidental injuries. So, from the basement to the bathroom and the backyard, most accidents happen at home. However, accidents are preventable and you can make your home safe with just a few easy steps.
- Test the Smoke Alarm: While the sight of a smoke alarm on the ceiling provides a sense of safety in 97 percent of households, only 19 percent of people test their alarms quarterly. Batteries die within a year and smoke detectors only have a lifespan of 8-10 years, so taking the time to test your batteries is extremely important. The majority of deaths from home fires are from smoke inhalation, so make a habit of testing the batteries in smoke alarms on the first of every month. Write the purchase date on the alarm so you know when it needs to be replaced.
- Put Away Poisons: In a typical year, 2.5 million are treated for poison exposure, while 60,000 children are treated in emergency rooms because of medication poisoning. To prevent poisoning, place chemicals, household cleaners, and medicines in childproof areas. Safely dispose of out-of-date medicines and unused paints and chemicals. And, keep the Poison Control Hotline Number next to your phone.
- Take a Tour of Trip Hazard: Falls are the third most common cause of accidents requiring hospitalization and they can affect people of all ages. Take a tour of your home and make sure stairway rails are secure and firm. Tack, repair, or replace loose carpets, rugs, and stair treads. Remove clutter and eliminate loose chords and wires in high-traffic areas.
- Improve Kitchen Conduct: A quarter million people are injured in the kitchen every year and most of these accidents are 100 percent preventable. Make a habit of staying in the kitchen when the stove is on. Keep hot dishes and liquids off tablecloths so children cannot pull them down and scald themselves. Lastly, turn the handles of pots and frying pans to the back of the stove to avoid spills and burns.
- Bathroom Disasters: The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the home, especially for seniors. Install grab bars in tub enclosures and next to the toilet. Non-skid bathmats can eliminate hazards not only in tubs and showers but on bathroom floors in front of tubs and toilets. Finally, make sure you have nightlights in the bathroom to eliminate those sleepy midnight slips, trips, and falls in the dark.