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How Safe Is Your Home?

A surprising number of physical injuries happen inside the home (about a third of all injuries). The sad truth is that they are more likely to affect small children and the elderly the most.

Some of the most common problems that can cause in-home injuries are falls, burns, poisoning, inadequate railings, and banisters.

Falls are the single largest cause of in-home injury deaths. Almost 6,000 people a year die from injuries that occur from falls in the home. The elderly are four times more likely to die as a direct result of a fall.

Each year falls cause almost 9 million trips to the emergency room. Almost a third of people 65 and older experience a fall that leads to moderate or severe injuries and almost a third of those experience moderate to severe hip fractures.

People over 75 have 95% of all hip fractures and are much more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or more as a result of an injury sustained as a result of a fall in the home.

One of the most effective preventive measures that you can perform is to have adequate grab bars installed in your bathroom. Safety in the bathroom is very important because of the number of slippery hard surfaces. Slipping and falling in the bathroom often results in serious injuries because of the hard surfaces involved.

Preventing Falls in the Home

  1. Stairways.
    1. Install a safety gate at the top of steps.
    2. Make sure banisters are in good condition and securely fastened.
    3. You should have banisters on both sides of the stairs.
    4. Consider marking or painting the edges of stairs with “traction paint” of a contrasting color so that you can easily see the edge.
  2. Bathrooms.
    1. Be sure that you can move about the bathroom safely while using the toilet or getting into and out of the shower or tub.
    2. Install safety grab bars near the toilet and on tub or shower walls. Grab bars significantly reduce the chances of falling in the bathroom, tub, or shower.
    3. Install non-skid mats or strips to prevent slips.
  3. Remove or secure area rugs with tape so that they do not slide around. Rugs actually cause a lot of falls.
  4. Clean up the clutter.
  5. Check all rooms and remove any obstacles that could be a tripping hazard. Remove cords and move furniture and plants out of the way.
  6. Know the potential side effects of any medications you might take.
    1. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.
    2. Many prescription and non-prescription medication can cause dizziness or light-headedness creating a risk of falls.
    3. As people get older these side-effects can become worse.
  7. Have your eyes examined at least every year. Vision problems can contribute to falling.
  8. Brighten it up, make sure that you can see.
    1. With the advent of super bright low wattage LED light bulbs the is easy to accomplish.
  9. Footwear. Wear slippers and shoes with rubber soles to add more traction.