We think of our homes as our sanctuaries, and yet the home is the location where most accidents occur. Use the guide below to discover the most common household injuries and – crucially- how best to avoid them.
Falls are the most common accident that befalls people in the home. The most commonly affected age groups are the very young and the elderly. Falls can be a result of many different factors, but there are a few easy steps you can take to significantly reduce the risk of suffering from a fall within your own four walls.
Firstly, remove any rugs that prevent a trip hazard; where they are kept in place, ensure that they are non-slip, don’t have any turned up corners for the feet to catch on, and aren’t prone to moving. Secondly, be vigilant about keeping clutter at bay, especially on the stairs and other high-traffic areas. Next, make sure that any tables, chairs, or other furniture that you lean on for support while getting up or moving about is stable and not likely to buckle or move when weight is put on it.
It’s important that your footwear doesn’t make a fall more likely: ensure that shoes or slippers are well-fitting and non-slip. Assess your living space for uneven patches of flooring, too; you could either put a small ramp on the uneven area or could arrange for the furniture in the room to be moved so that the uneven section is no longer accessible. Placing a chair in the kitchen and bathroom is a good idea, so that, should you feel dizzy or unsteady, you have somewhere to immediately sit.
Avoiding Accidental Poisoning
Poisoning is another household injury (have a look here for more information on the most common accidents in the home) that can be easily prevented. While the most common age group to be affected by poisoning in the home is children, the age group that is most likely to suffer from serious injuries as a result of poisoning is the 25-44-year-olds.
To guard against accidental poisoning, keep medicines, cleaning products, detergents, and any other potentially harmful substance out of the reach of children; keep products in their original packaging, too, so that, if the worst happens, you will be able to show medical alert systems exactly what has been ingested.
When taking or administering medicine, read the label carefully and check with your doctor or pharmacist if unsure, and dispose of any unused or out-of-date medicine properly and promptly.
Protecting Against Choking
Choking is a very common household injury, with the children and the elderly most likely to be victims of it. Help prevent it from happening by teaching kids to sit up straight whilst eating and to finish their mouthful of food before speaking. Never leave very young children unsupervised while eating, and special care should be taken when offering hard, smooth foods such as nuts, raw carrots and peas, and popcorn; be careful, too, with soft foods like cheese cubes, hotdogs, grapes, and chewing gum.
It’s vital to make sure inedible items like batteries, marbles, coins, and balloons are kept off of floors and out of the reach of young kids. Learning CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver is a very good idea, just in case.
These kinds of accidents are also known as ‘tip-over incidents,’ and examples are televisions or furniture falling or being pulled down onto someone. The best way to prevent injury caused by falling objects is to make sure that furniture is firmly anchored to walls and that TVs are kept on sturdy, low surfaces. You may also want to consider fitting anti-tip brackets to kitchen ranges and freestanding stoves, and power cords and cables should always be tucked safely out of the way.
Keeping snacks and toys off of surfaces that could pose a tip-over hazard is advisable, too.
Keeping Cuts at Bay
Cooking, repairing items, and shaving can all cause cuts, some of which could be lacerations that require medical treatment. Guard against this by keeping scissors, knives, razors, and any other sharp items out of sight and reach of children. The same goes for sewing kits and toolboxes, which can also contain sharp objects.
Installing a safety latch on your dishwasher will also prevent kids from having access to knives and glassware. It’s sensible to regularly check attics, basements, and other less-used areas of your home for hazards such as protruding or loose nails, loose sidings or mortar, construction materials, or out-of-action machinery or household equipment.
Guarding Against Burns
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), burns are the fifth most common non-fatal childhood injury and are most likely to be suffered by children and adult women.
To protect children from sustaining burns, it’s crucial to keep matches and lighters locked away and to not leave hot drinks anywhere that children could reach them or risk spilling them onto themselves, and never leave items cooking on the stove unattended. Test bathtub water before bathing the kids – and it’s a good idea to alter your thermostat so that the water coming out of the taps will never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.