child-bicycle We all consider our homes to be the safest place. However, studies show that home is actually the place where a majority of accidents take place – especially the ones that include children and elderly. Though we cannot prevent every unforeseen incident that occurs within our house, there are ways to keep kids and older adults safe inside the house. With a little bit of planning and investment, you can decrease the probability of anyone getting injured at home and make your home a safer place to be.

The post discusses 4 of the most common scenarios in which a family member could get seriously injured.

Falls
The Home Safety Council has now reported that more than one third of all accidents take place within the home and nearly 44 percent of these accidents are falls.

  • For children, this has to do with the development of their motor skills while the elderly are more likely to fall as their mobility declines.
  • The simplest way to prevent falls is to make a habit of keeping clutter to an absolute minimum including laundry and toys.
  • It is also best to purchase extension cords to keep power cords out of any walkways and forgo the use of carpets as much as possible as they are statistically more likely to cause an accident than cushion a fall.

Choking and Poisoning
For kids that are teething, or just curious while wandering around the house, they always tend to find a way to get things in their mouth.

  • It is important to begin by keeping toys around that are only age-appropriate.
  • In case you have infants in your house, explain to the older children to keep their toys away from the younger one.
  • No matter the age of a child, medication should be securely locked away and out of reach at all times.
  • Baby locks are a great way to lock cabinets that are lower, but it is even more prudent to keep all toxic items out of the home or on higher shelves.

Common items around the home that are often overlooked but can be very dangerous for children include:

  • Beauty products
  • Vitamins
  • Toxic Plants
  • Peeling lead paint
  • Medicines containing iron
  • Painkillers
  • Curtain cords

Fires and Electricity
Unfortunately, fires are another serious danger within the home, but it is also one of the easiest accidents to prevent with a little foresight.

  • Older homes should have the wiring and outlets checked at least once every five years for any defects.
  • Heaters and fireplaces should be completely gated off at all times, preferably with child safety gates, and children should never be left unattended around them.
  • Fire alarms should be kept throughout the home in key locations and the batteries checked multiple times per year.
  • When cooking, even over an electrical grill, the food should be watched at all times, especially when cooking with any form of oil.

Preventing Cuts
Lacerations can happen to family members of any age, and that is why it is important to have a first aid kit on hand at all times. If possible, use safety glass or shatter-resistant glass for all kinds of furniture, doors and windows. For those that are old enough to handle knives, some of the most important safety steps include:

  • Sharpen or discard dull knives
  • Always use proper cutting techniques
  • Use safety gloves when possible
  • Do not attempt to catch falling knives
  • Store knives safely (use a knife block when possible)

While it can be slightly nerve-wracking, safety within the home is all about planning ahead and spotting some of the most dangerous points in the home before they become an issue. This especially includes homes with the elderly residents or younger children with limited mobility or dexterity issues.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michelle Holincheck, FNP

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