Almost every year, 21 million medical visits occur due to negligence in safety, at home. Out of these, 20,000 cases result in death.There are 7 common hazards that you need to focus on in order to make your home more safe and secure. We are going to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to counter these problems through simple safety instructions and equipment. So let’s have a look.
Common Safety Hazards At Home
It has been observed that 40 per cent of non-fatal injuries occurs due to falls. Children and the elderly are most likely to suffer from these.
When the aged people suffer from a fall, it could lead to broken bones or dislocation which takes more time to heal. Children in their mobile state are more likely to fall off the stairs or trip because of their baby walkers and playing equipment. Hence safety of these age groups needs to be taken care of. To prevent falls do the following:
- Install Window guards.
- Have soft protective equipment in the playing area.
- Have well-lighted stairs with railings to hold on to.
- Clear off any toys or items scattered on the floor.
- A safety gate should be installed at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Lock all the cabinets and drawers to keep children from climbing these.
- Keep a watch on the pets.
- Have non-slip rubber mats and railings in the shower.
- Ensure that the children use helmets while cycling or riding their skateboards.
When it comes to poisoning, all age groups are susceptible to it. Poisoning can occur through the addition of items such as caffeine, alcohol, amphetamines, anti-depressant, cocaine and heroin. However, most of these are self-inflicted and can be dealt with separately as dependency issues.
Children are most likely to reach out for cleaning items, medicines or personal care items. They reach out for these things when they are kept in the open or in cabinets that are easy to access. Thus, it becomes necessary to take precautions to avoid such incidents. To prevent poisoning at home to do the following:
- Place cleaning items or chemicals high up in the cabinets or shelves.
- Store chemicals (excess)in the shed or garage.
- Baby proof all the locks to make these are inaccessible to children.
- Never leave medicines or chemicals unattended. Pack these properly before storing them.
- Dispose of old batteries safely
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, CALL POISON CONTROL IMMEDIATELY!!
3. Fires And Burns
Injuries caused due to fires are the most common among children and adults. It’s also one of the leading causes of death in the US.
Burns are caused due to steam, hot water and sudden exposure to flames. It is important to take measures to ensure that precautions are taken while using appliances that can cause this hazard. Apart from this, it is best to have safety equipment that can protect the house from fire.
To prevent burns and fires do the following:
- Look for back burners while selecting the stove to keep children from getting burns due to the flames.
- Never leave the stove unattended while cooking.
- Keep iron or other hot items out of reach.
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable items.
- Install smoke detectors and regularly change their batteries.
- Get the electric wiring in the house, tested.
- Keep matches and lighters stored at a safe place.
- Do not leave a candle burning overnight.
- The dishwasher is a hazard as it releases steam that causes burns. So, remember to have it locked during the cycle and always unload the items after the cycle.
In Case of a Fire do the following:
- Fires are most likely to occur in the kitchen during cooking. So immediately put the lid back on the pot and have a fire extinguisher at an accessible location.
- Keep an emergency plan and kits ready for the family. Choose convenient and safe locations to meet up after leaving the premises.
- Learn how to perform first aid in case of burns. The first step to take is to hold the affected area under cold water for fifteen minutes before wrapping a sterile bandage around it. Further, take the victim to the hospital depending on his condition.
4. Choking, Suffocation And Strangulation
It is one of the leading causes of deaths in children and infants.Suffocation occurs usually when plastic bags get wrapped around the heads of infants or when adults accidentally roll over them in their sleep.
Choking, on the other hand, is caused due to the blocking of the airway by small particles of food, parts of toys etc. Strangulation is the compression of the airway due to externally applied pressure. This can be caused by ribbons or pacifier strings that get wrapped around the necks of infants. It can also occur when children stick their heads in cribs, different furniture, playground equipment or strollers.
Precautions to be taken-
- Buy a separate crib for infants and ensure that the bars of the crib has enough spaces to avoid strangulation.
- Keep the crib free of soft items such as pillows, soft toys etc.
- Cut the food into small pieces to avoid choking.
- Inspect the playing area well.
- Know how to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre in case of an emergency.
- Never leave loose ends of items or strings lying on the floor. For example- Cords or pacifier strings etc.
It has been found that drowning is the 5th leading cause of death in the US. So it has become important to take measures to avoid this. The first measure to take is to have the perimeter of the pool fenced. The next thing is to remember to keep all the drains covered up to prevent drowning by suction. Never leave the children unattended in the pool or during bathing as well. Always have an adult accompanying them. Adults too must remember not to use alcohol or any prescription drugs while in the pool or even the bathtub.
Sharp objects like kitchen knives, graters or blades cause deep cuts. So keep in mind to cover these objects after use and keep them out of reach of children. Also, keep the rakes, lawnmowers and saws safely in the garage or the shed. Do not leave these unattended in the lawn or near the playing area.
Household toxins begin to accumulate in the household and their levels need to be kept in check. These chemicals cause harmful reactions in the body and are a hazard to health.
- Carbon monoxide which is an odourless, colourless, flammable gas causes dizziness, headache, nausea and in extreme cases even death. Hence it is important to install alarms to get its level tested. Cleaning the chimney, furnace and getting faulty stoves replaced, can reduce the production of this harmful gas.
- Lead is present in paints and scrapping it out can cause the formation of lead dust. So have your homes tested and have it professionally removed.
- Mold grows under moist conditions on paint, paper, cotton etc.
These spores cause allergy and asthma. You can have a dehumidifier to keep the humidity under 50 per cent in the house.
- Randon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. Purchase a kit to have it tested and professionally cleaned up.
- Pbisphenol A is found in water bottles, wrappers etc. Switch to glass in order to prevent its adverse effects.
- Asbestos is a fibre found in drywall, toys, insulation and is known to cause cancer. If it has been used in the construction of your house, have it tested and professionally and safely removed.
8. Other Potential Sources Of Hazards
- These are a potential source of poisoning if swallowed. The nine-volt batteries are a fire hazard as the points of connection are relatively close. If these get in contact with metal, they can catch fire due to the heating. Cover up the points with tape to avoid this.
- Dryers are a fire hazard if the filters are not cleaned well. The lint stuck in the filter is the culprit. Replace the vent tube and have it well cleaned regularly to prevent a build-up of lint in the folds.
- Guns!! Lock all your weapons in a cabinet or a volt. Keep the bullets in a separate place and keep hide the keys well.
- Bacterial infections. Bacteria is everywhere. Your bathroom, your phone, everywhere!! In fact, every one out of six phones has the bacteria E.coli on it. But this can be fixed. Wash your hands well and make it difficult for these germs to survive.
Having your home free of such hazards is important for the well being of each and every member of your family. It can be a tedious task to have certain installments done and it may seem never-ending to ensure these precautions are taken. However, these will reduce the number of risks and assure the safety of your family. Have your homes tested and counter these hazards to keep you and your family safe and secure.