Guard Against One Of The Greatest Dangers In Your Home
Do you know the leading causes of death in the home? According to the National Safety Council, poisoning at home (from drugs, medicines, other solid and liquid substances, and gases and vapors) killed 11,500 people in 2001 (the most recent year for which statistics have been compiled). The second most-likely cause of death in the home is from falling. Falls at home claimed 9,000 lives in 2001, and 80% of those who died were older than 65. Injuries resulting from falls in the home number in the millions annually.
If you have an older relative in your home, or young children, you can protect them from the risk of falling in a variety of ways. Take inspiration from National Safety Month to follow these recommendations from the National Safety Council.
TO SAFEGUARD ADULTS
TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN
- Keep the floor and stairways clear. Reduce clutter and safely tuck telephone and electrical cords out of walkways.
- Keep the floor clean. Clean up grease, water and other liquids immediately. Don't wax floors.
- Use non-skid throw rugs to reduce your chance of slipping on wood floors, tile or linoleum. Or, use foam carpet backing, double-sided tape or a rubber pad to keep other rugs from slipping.
- Install handrails along stairways.
- Install grab bars in bathroom by toilets and in the tub or shower stall.
- Make sure living areas are well lit. We can all trip and fall in the dark.
- Use a sturdy step stool with handrails when reaching into high places.
- Follow medication dosages closely. Using medication incorrectly may lead to dizziness, weakness and other side effects. These can all lead to a dangerous fall.
- Fill-in holes and depressions left in the yard after plants or trees have been removed. Make sure walkways offer an even walking surface.
- Don't leave babies alone on beds, changing tables or sofas.
- Always strap children into highchairs and strollers.
- Don't let children play alone on fire escapes, high porches or balconies.
- Use safety gates if there are infants and toddlers in your home. At the top of the stairs, attach the gate to a wall. Avoid accordion gates with large openings---a child's neck can get trapped.
- Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach.
- Set and enforce rules about keeping children's play away from windows or patio doors. Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.
- Keep furniture away from windows, including anything a child could climb.
- Never depend on an insect screen to keep your child from falling out of a window. Screens are intended to keep insects out, not children in.
- Use window guards to prevent windows from being opened more than four inches, so children can't crawl through them. Be sure to check with your local fire department and building code official to make sure guards or security bars comply with all applicable requirements.
- Install rubber mats or slip-resistant stickers in tubs and showers. Never leave a child unattended in the tub.