While many people associate serious injuries with car accidents and incidents in public settings, some of the most common and serious injuries take place at home. Injury risks sit in cupboards within reach of small hands; they trip homeowners on stairs; and, they can cause serious burns. If you want to keep your loved ones safe, or are planning on having guests visit your residence, it’s important to be cautious of potential hazards and take precautions to prevent and accidents or potential premises liability situations from occurring at your home.
Safeguard Your Home: Five Primary Household Hazards or Injuries
Whether you’re baby-proofing for your little one or reorganizing, keep these common household injuries in mind:
Poisoning is now the number one cause of preventable deaths in America. While the opioid epidemic is largely responsible for the high number of poisonings, household poisoning is also a serious risk – especially for small children. The wrong medication, too much medication, and exposure to toxic substances including drain cleaners and bleach can all results in a poisoning injury or death.
To reduce the likelihood of an accidental poisoning, take all medications as prescribed and lock harmful substances away from the reach of small children who don’t know any better and older children who may look for new and interesting ways to achieve a high.
#2. Slip & Fall Injuries
Falls have long held a position as a top cause for household injuries. Children fall off beds, tables, and dressers. Healthy adults may fall off of roofs while performing routine maintenance. Elderly individuals may lose their balance and fall during normal daily activities. Falls can result in severe lacerations, broken bones including hips, spinal cord damage, and brain damage. While most falls are minor, the wrong landing can lead to far worse than a skinned knee. Take safety precautions on roofs and supervise children during playtime to avoid serious fall injuries. If you are older or take care of an older individual, consider a cane, walker, or other mobility strategy to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous fall.
Electrical issues, unsupervised stoves, candles, hairstyling tools, chemicals, and other hazards may contribute to serious and life-threatening burn injuries. According to the Burn Foundation, people experience more than 500,000 scald-related burns every year in the U.S. Many of the incidents occur in the kitchen and bathroom. At 156°F, water can cause a third-degree burn in a single second. At 133°F, it can cause a third-degree burn within 15 seconds.
To avoid burn injuries, keep hot pots out of reach of children. Never wear loose and flowy clothing while cooking. To reduce the risk of tap water scalding injuries, adjust your water heater’s thermostat and consider installing an anti-scald device to protect small children.
#4. Suffocation or Choking
Young babies face an increased risk of asphyxiation from blankets, clothing, and sleeping practices. Exposure to certain substances including carbon monoxide can result in chemical suffocation. Humans start to lose brain cells quickly when deprived of oxygen. Suffocation can result in hypoxic-anoxic injuries (HAIs) and create a range of symptoms. Some people never recover from these injuries.
Be sure to follow all best practices for tucking in infants, install a carbon monoxide detector, and discourage young children from playing the “pass out” game to avoid suffocation-related injuries.
If your home has a pool, hot tub or fountain, there’s an extra level of caution to make sure that your kids or guests are safe from potential water hazards. There’s always the risk of small children or inexperienced swimmers from drowning in your pool, and this can occur in a matter of seconds. There’s also another longer-term variation of drowning that has caused some recent awareness. It’s called dry drowning, and has become a major concern of parents in recent years. The condition occurs when water creates a spasm within the respiratory tract and causes airways to close up. The condition can create oxygen-related injuries within minutes of exposure. Secondary drowning, another drowning concern, can occur up to 24 hours after exposure and also cause oxygen-related injuries or death.
Full-immersion drownings are more common than dry drowning or secondary drowning, but all represent a serious household risk. Watch children carefully around bodies of water to reduce the risk of drowning.
While many household hazards can lead to serious injuries, some simple precautions can greatly reduce the risk. Use these insights and prevention tips to protect your home from some of the most common household injuries and you can keep your family, friends and loved ones safe.