Posted on June 01 2011If asked, I would say that I feel the safest in my home. However, did you know that Americans are actually safer at work than they are at home? They are 11 times safer – that’s huge! There are many ways in which you can make your home safer (eg. keep cleaning products locked and away from small children, have fire/CO2 alarms in the right areas, etc.), but it looks like the overwhelming statistics surrounding accidental falls and slips suggests that this is an issue that might have to be tackled first…
21 million medical visits are the result of unintentional injuries at home Falls are the leading cause of injury and death at home in older adults and the leading cause of ER visits among children People over 60 rank the highest in injuries and deaths due to falls 5.1 million injuries happen as a result of a fall or slip per year 1/3 of all unintentional home injury deaths are the result of a fall.
Now, just like me, you might be thinking that none of these statistics apply to you. However, I challenge you to look a little deeper. Are your hallways and stairways lit adequately enough? How slippery does your bathroom floor or bathtub get when wet? Do you have the basic first aid equipment and skills to help someone who has had an accident in your home? It's an interesting concept.
Our apartment is on the second floor of a building and the only entrance to it is the steps up to the deck on the outside of the house. They are absolutely treacherous in the winter even with the rubber treads nailed to them, so I already know that that's an issue. But where else in my single-floor apartment are there safety issues? I started thinking about this when my 3-year-old niece slept over for the first time. Not only did our tiny apartment seem even tinier with a cute little child running around, but I was more aware of safety hazards with her in the house. It wasn't just the stairs outside anymore, it was whether or not she was going to fall off our bed in the middle of the night and hit the nightstand that's squeezed in next to the bed, the general lack of open space to play, how slippery our bathroom floor gets after a shower, and Mike's bike leaning precariously against the wall. Mike and I are very capable people and have never had an accident in our apartment (those stairs, however, are another issue entirely…), but I challenge you to reevaluate your home. Picture it with a small child running around, or if your leg was in a cast and you needed the space to get around on crutches, or an elderly person was living with you, and then ask yourself how safe it is.
Every home has hot spots. The most common, I think, is the bathroom. The tub alone is an accident waiting to happen. How can you make this area safer? Depending on your situation, you may want to consider any one of the following home aids:
How about the bedroom? Are you or a family member at risk of an injury after falling out of bed or a wheelchair? Are you a caregiver to an elderly patient and are worried about not knowing if they fall out of bed in the middle of the night? These products may be of use to you:
Do you or someone you know have trouble maneuvering in general? Even something as simple as getting out of a chair can be a struggle for some people. These can definitely help:
There are many ways to make your home safer for you and your family – and don't underestimate the value of a good first aid kit. Whether your elderly, disabled, looking out for a young child, or just looking to make your home a little safer to live in, there's something for everyone.
Also, these are just my own personal suggestions. If you have anything to add, feel free to comment!