An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Tips to Prevent the 5 Most Common Household Injuries.
As personal injury attorneys, at DeCamillis & Mattingly, PLLC, we naturally only hear of tragic events after the fact. We rarely get the benefit of helping people prevent injuries, but we like to try! After all, helping families cope with the aftermath of an accident necessarily involves evaluating the cause of the accident. These blogs give us a break from reacting to crisis situations and an opportunity to see if we can all do something to prevent an injury (or treat it immediately if needed).
So, where do many if not most injuries occur? Right at home.
Now that summer has arrived and our homes are full of children and visitors, it is a perfect time to share tips and useful links regarding the prevention and treatment of household injuries.
Are You Prepared to Prevent or Treat The 5 Most Common Household Injuries?
#1: Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to the Home Safety Council, falls are the #1 cause of home injuries and deaths. At little or no expense, you can avoid a lot of these falls with simple precautions and useful aids.
- Avoid using throw-rugs, especially the ones with fringes. Throw-rugs cause frequent tripping. Yes, they look great. But, more throw-rugs mean more tripping risks – especially for the elderly and people with mobility challenges. If you do use a throw-rug, place a high-quality rubber “grip” mat under the rug (which extends the entire length and width of the rug).
- Leave a light on at night or plug-in some night lights – particularly in hallways leading to bathrooms or the kitchen.
- Start a “Trip Jar.” Don’t leave anything (toys, clothes, electronics) lying on the floor in walking areas. Anybody leaving something on the floor must add a dollar or quarter to the Trip Jar.
SMART CART: Fill your “Smart Cart” with items you need to protect yourself and/or someone you love.
# 2 through # 5: Poisoning, Fire/Burns, Choking, and Drowning
According to www.asecurelife.com/home-accident-statistics, poisoning, fires/burns, choking, and drowning comprise the 2nd through 5th leading household causes of serious injuries and deaths, particularly among children and toddlers. These top causes are related because the prevention of each requires close supervision plus using safety devices and following directions for dangerous objects, substances, and risks.
- Keep poisons and medications out of reach of children and well-marked in original, safety containers.
- Don’t leave boiling or hot liquids on the stove unattended, especially on front burners.
- Keep the water heater temperature below the level of scalding (indicated on water heater settings).
- Don’t leave water unattended in a tub. Someone can drown in just two (2) inches of water.
- Keep the toilet lids down! (And, for anyone with toddlers in the home, keep them secured with safety locks.)
- While most people know this, the importance cannot be overstated – NEVER allow a child anywhere near a swimming pool or hot tub without direct, adult supervision – even if they know how to swim.
- Don’t give babies or toddlers anything small enough to fit into their mouths or leave these choking hazards within reach of babies or toddlers. This includes dry dog food! Don’t leave it uneaten in a bowl anywhere a baby might crawl.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and First Aid kit on hand.
- Place fire escape ladders in every bedroom on the 2nd floor or higher.
- Do not use grill brushes with wire bristles. When the bristles become loose, they can adhere to grill grates and then food. Every year, people sustain serious internal injuries by swallowing a wire, grill brush bristle. Instead, use a pumice stone or mitt.
- Fires devastate thousands of families every year. Take simple precautions. Remember to unplug curling and straightening irons. Periodically check your switch plates: do they feel hot? Don’t run the dryer when you are not home. Turn off the stove and oven immediately after cooking. Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home. During Christmas season, keep plenty of water in your trees. And, most importantly, have working smoke detectors in every room.
- Poison Prevention Stickers
- First Aid Kit
- Fire Extinguishers (local home improvement store)
- Carbon Monoxide Detector/Alarm
BONUS! (#6): Falling Objects
Falling objects are common causes of head injuries – particularly from locations where babies and toddlers reach for heavy objects (i.e. tables) or where adults reach overhead to pull heavy items from shelves. Avoid this danger with mindfulness and simple precautions.
- Keep heavy objects away from the edges of tables and coffee tables (where babies crawl).
- Keep heavier household items – especially kitchen appliances such as blenders – on bottom shelves.
- Have a safety-designed step ladder in rooms where top-shelf items are frequently used.
Please share these tips with your friends and family, and please let us know any of your helpful tips for preventing household injuries. For further reading and prevention tips on these Top 5 Causes of injuries and deaths, read this article from Money.USNews.