Accidents happen. While even the most cautious individuals are not immune to accidents, that doesn’t mean it’s not in everyone’s best interest to do everything they can to reduce their risk of accident and injury, particularly around their own homes.
Homes are often seen as safe havens, but they’re also where many individuals suffer preventable injuries. Data from the National Safety Council indicates that about 14 out of every 100 people suffered preventable injuries in their homes or a community venue in 2020.
A home’s status as a sanctuary can make it easy to overlook various safety risks. The following are some safety hazards that can be prevented when homeowners make a concerted effort to make their homes as safe as possible.
Scalding: Scalding injuries pose a significant threat to anyone. Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that more than 375,000 scald burn injuries associated with various household appliances and products were treated in emergency rooms between 2013 and 2017. More than one-fifth of those injuries affected children four years old and younger. To prevent scalding injuries, make sure the temperature on your water heater is set no higher than 120 F. The American Burn Association advises parents to avoid giving children responsibilities above their developmental ability. For example, don’t let children bathe siblings, cook, wash dishes, or use appliances like toasters or microwaves until they’re able to recognize and understand the dangers of scalding and burns.
Trips and falls: The National Floor Safety Institute indicates that falls account for more than eight million emergency room visits each year. Seniors seem to be especially vulnerable, as the National Institute on Aging indicates 30 percent of individuals age 65 and over will sustain a fall each year, with 10 percent of those falls resulting in serious injury. These injuries are easily avoided by routinely cleaning up to ensure walking paths like hallways and staircases inside the home and exterior walkways are clear of obstructions and debris. Carpeting and throw rugs also can pose a falling/tripping hazard, so promptly address carpet that is peeling up and utilize non-slip rug pads for throw rugs and floor mats throughout the home.
Unstable furniture injuries: The CPSC indicates that every year more than 11,000 children suffer injuries that require emergency room visits due to tip-over incidents involving home furnishings like televisions. And kids aren’t the only ones vulnerable to these injuries, as 56 percent of tip-over-related ER visits involve patients over the age of 18. Mount or anchor all flat-screen televisions in your home to reduce the risk of tip-over injuries. In addition, replace any unstable furnishings, such as wobbly dining room chairs or well-worn armchairs that are no longer stable. Such furnishings pose a significant injury risk to anyone, but especially kids who love to climb on couches and chairs.