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Common Household Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Although we’d like to think our homes are incredibly safe, accidental home injuries can and do happen. However, if you take the right precautions, your home can be much safer for you and your family. Learn about the most common household injuries that occur, then learn the steps you can take to prevent these common injuries from happening.
Falls are one of the most common causes of accidental injury and death in the home. A variety of injuries can be caused by falls, ranging from minor scratches, broken bones, permanent disability or death. Those most at risk of serious injury in a fall at home are young children and the elderly. Falls can happen for a number of reasons, but there are things you can do to discourage dangerous falls in your home.
Start with your bathroom first and do what you can to make it a non-slip zone. Tubs and smooth floors are particularly dangerous, so you should put non-slip pads in the tub, install grab bars in and near the tub, and make sure your floor mat is non-slip. For added protection, you can install a rougher floor covering than the standard smooth tiles or linoleum of most bathrooms.
In the rest of your home, you want to look for things like clutter and other travel hazards. Clear the floor clutter and have designated spaces for items like shoes that are easy to forget and trip over. Remove area rugs and throw rugs out of your space if you can. These often have edges that flip over and create a tripping hazard. Put guardrails on your stairs if there are none. If you have children, childproof your home by blocking off windows and stairs, and increase visibility for little eyes by leaving nightlights on in every room and hallway.
Burns are another very common injury at home. We most often encounter burns when we cook, but open flames, electric shocks and even hot water are also causes. To avoid burns, it is important to always be careful around hot surfaces, especially ovens and stoves. Always assume that potentially hot surfaces are, in fact, hot until proven otherwise. Never force a plug into an outlet and always have a certified electrician do any necessary electrical work in your home. Keep pets and children away from candles and open fires and always completely extinguish all open flames. Turn your water heater down to around 110°F to avoid potential burns.
Home fires are sometimes caused by unseen electrical faults or pests, so it’s essential to keep a working smoke detector in your home at all times. The code regularly calls for a smoke detector in or just outside each bedroom. Check with your local code application to find out what is required in your area. Test your smoke detector frequently. Early knowledge of a home fire is the best way to ensure that you and your family are able to escape to safety.
Most cuts happen in the kitchen or dining room when we use knives, but they can also happen in other places in your home. The only way to avoid knife cuts is to always be careful when using a knife. Never look away from what you are cutting. Use proper cutting techniques, including keeping your fingers away from the knife and cutting on a cutting board. Wear closed shoes when cutting, and if the knife falls, NEVER try to catch it. Carefully supervise young children around sharp objects and keep knives and other sharp objects out of reach of small hands.
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