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Home Care Library

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Preventing the 5 Most Fatal Home Accidents

FALLS


Falls around the home are responsible for more than 1/3 of all injury deaths. Here are some steps you can take around your home to reduce the risk of falls:

Tripping Hazards

  • Cover electrical cords that run along the floor (see types, costs, and reviews of electrical cord covers).

  • Secure loose throw rugs with non-stick pads (see types, costs, and reviews of non-slip rug pads).


Slipping Hazards

  • Apply non-slip strips to your bathtubs and showers (see types, costs, and reviews of non-slip strips).

  • Clean up spills immediately.
     


Stairways

  • Keep stairways clear of toys, boxes, and other items (helpful accessory: toy containers).

  • Install baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
     


Stools & Ladders

  • Use only a sturdy step stool with a handrail, not chairs or bar stools (helpful accessory: step stools).

  • When using a ladder, be careful to use it properly.
     


Lighting

  • Install night-lights near stairways.

  • Be sure there is adequate lighting in closets, hallways, and that you have switches that can turn on lights before you enter into dark rooms (helpful accessory: area and stairway lights).


POISONINGS


Children under the age of 6 are at the highest risk of death from home poisonings, and these include both your own children and those of your guests. And remember, poisoning deaths are not exclusive to just children. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of poisoning deaths in your home:
  • Keep household medicines and poisonous products in their original, labeled, child-resistant containers (helpful accessory: medicine containers).

  • Install child-proof locks on cabinets where you keep household chemicals or medications (see types, costs, and reviews of child-proof locks). Or better yet, keep them in a securely locked cabinet.

  • When using potentially dangerous household products, never leave a child unattended when the package or container is out.

  • Install at least one carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on each level of your home.

  • Keep the number of your local poison control center handy. The Poison Help Hotline is 1-800-222-1222.


FIRES


Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home. Reducing the risk of death from home fires is a combination of prevention, detection and action plans:

Prevention:

  • Keep matches, cigarette lighters, and candles locked up and away from children.

  • Don’t leave burning cigarettes or candles unattended, and put them out completely when done.

  • Never leave the kitchen while food is cooking on the stove.

  • Keep curtains, furniture, and bedding away from heaters.

  • Don’t overload electric outlets (helpful accessory: electricity usage overload protectors).

  • Repair frayed or worn wiring immediately.


Detection:

  • Install smoke alarms in the hallway, bedrooms, and on each level of your home (see types, costs, and reviews of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms).

  • Replace smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old.

  • Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries every year.


Action Plans:

  • Keep fire extinguishers near your kitchen, garage, workrooms and rooms with fireplaces.

  • If you have bedrooms on a second floor, then have a rope ladder in each room, and make sure that everyone knows how to use them.

  • Develop a plan with your family that includes 2 escape routes from every room and establishes a safe meeting spot.


SUFFOCATION AND CHOKING


Fatalities in the home that are associated with suffocation and choking can be prevented by addressing risks in three categories: swallowing, neck and head:

Swallowing:

  • Keep balloons away from babies and toddlers, who can swallow them and choke.

  • Cut children’s food into small pieces.

  • Be sure that everyone knows to chew their food thoroughly.


Neck:

  • Tie up window blind cords so that they cannot be reached by children.

  • Avoid having long telephone cords hanging down.

  • Do not leave necklaces, headphone cords, etc. where they can be grabbed by small children.


Head:

  • Keep all plastic bags out of children’s reach.

  • Tie any plastic bags into knots before throwing them in the trash.

  • Do not put infants face down on pillows or soft bedding.


DROWNING


Wherever you have water around your house, you have the risk of drowning. These areas include: pools/spas; bathtubs; and other areas. Everyone old enough (including baby-sitters) should receive CPR training, and this training should include how to administer CPR for children and infants.

Pool / Spa:

  • Make sure that self-closing and self-latching gates and alarms leading to the pool or spa are working properly (helpful accessory: pool/water alarm kits for children).

  • Don’t leave children unattended in a pool, wading pool, or hot tub, even if they are using a flotation device.

  • Empty out plastic kiddie pools as soon as you’re done using them.

  • Be sure your baby-sitter understands pool safety measures, and they are trained in CPR.


Bathtub:

  • Never leave an infant unattended in the bathtub.

  • Make sure that bathtubs have non-slip surfaces around them, and strong hand holds to catch falls.


Other Areas of Your Home:

  • Don’t leave buckets of water around the house when you are cleaning.

  • Install toilet safety locks to keep toddlers from falling in.

  • Don’t let children play around your washing machine.


SUMMARY


We hope this article and video has helped you to understand the 5 leading causes of home fatalities, and that you now understand some of the steps you can take to reduce the risk of them for you, your family and your guests.

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