January may have you tackling some much-needed home projects. It’s also a good time to look for easy to fix hazards in our homes that can lead to injuries.
You may be shocked to learn that 30,000 deaths occur each year due to home-related injuries. Additionally, 12 million non-fatal injuries occur each year in the United States due to home-related accidents.
Adults make up the largest group of home-related fatalities with those over the age of 80 at the greatest risk.
These injuries can be related to falls, fires, poisonings, poor wiring, deteriorating stairs, lack of smoke alarms, or excessively hot water temperatures. Fortunately, most of these injuries are preventable with a little bit of effort and time.
Here are some suggestions to avoid potential hazards and injuries in your home.
- Check all cords in your home. Look for cords that could be a tripping hazard. Avoid the use of extension cords or running cords under carpeting or furniture. Not doing so creates a fire hazard. Make sure your cords are in good condition and replace frayed or cracked cords.
- Look at small rugs, mats and carpet runners. Make sure all rugs and runners are slip-resistant. Rubber matting or double-faced carpet tape can be placed under the rugs to keep them from slipping and causing a fall.
- Check your smoke detectors. You need at least one smoke detector on each level of your home. Detectors should be placed near bedrooms and be kept free of dust. Always make sure the batteries are good.
- Use caution when using a space heater. Keep space heaters away from rugs and curtains and place them where they will not be knocked over.
- Check your kitchen area for potential hazards. Keep towels, curtains, and other flammable materials away from your cooking range. Avoid loose-fitting long-sleeved clothing to avoid catching your sleeves on pot handles or catching them on fire. Rollback long sleeves while cooking. Also, have a good source of lighting above your stove, sink, or workspaces to avoid accidental cuts or burns.
- Make sure your chimney is in good condition. Have your chimney checked and cleaned by a licensed professional to avoid having poisonous fumes and smoke from entering the home. Chimney fires often occur from a buildup of creosote from wood-burning fireplaces.
- Keep your bathroom safe. Check the bathroom for safe water temperatures (less than 120 degrees), secure mats and rugs, install good lighting, and protect non-skid surfaces in the shower or tub. Installing grab bars can also help you get into and out of the shower/tub to prevent falls.
- Inspect your bedroom for safety issues. Install night lights and have light switches within reach of each bed. Avoid smoking in bed and keep sources of heat away from bedding. Be careful when using an electric blanket by checking cords. Avoid “tucking in” an electric blanket and also avoid having anything on top of an electric blanket such as comforters or pets.
- Check your basement/workshop/garage for hazards. Make sure your work areas are well lit and clean to avoid trips and falls. Keep flammable liquids such as gasoline, paints, and solvents away from heat sources and in properly labeled containers.
- Use caution on stairs. Make sure stairways have proper lighting, and that the handrails and steps and coverings are in good condition to prevent falls.
All home-related injuries aren’t avoidable, but by following these helpful tips (which will probably only take you one hour) you might just avoid a health problem.. January is a good time to make the necessary safety updates to your home and the home of your aging parents.
So, start off the New Year with a home safety checklist to keep you and your family safer in the home. If you have questions, we are here to serve you! Contact Severino Health Advisors for a FREE 15-minute consultation.