Children and Senior Safety in the Home

With the ever-increasing costs of health care, it's more important than ever to prevent accidents and injuries from happening. Since most accidents occur in the home, there are ways to protect your family. This article will look at ways to protect those most vulnerable--aging adults and young children.

SENIORS

Fall Prevention

  • Secure railings banisters on stairways
  • All stairways should have two banisters--one on each side
  • Keep stairways clear of clutter
  • Check carpet and treads on stairs for loose edges, nails, etc.
  • Use footwear with traction
  • Paint the bottom stair to the basement white for easy visibility
  • Don't place area rugs at the top or bottom of stairs
  • Keep walkways clear of clutter
  • Remove cords from walkways
  • Use adhesive tape under area rugs to secure them to floor
  • Use nightlights on stairways during night-time hours
  • Use the brightest possible lights in fixtures over stairs, porches and entryways
  • Keep floors clean, and wipe up spills
  • Keep outside stairs free of ice and snow

Bathroom Safety

  • Install grab bars in shower/tub and near toilet
  • Use non-slip pad in the bottom of the tub/shower
  • Convert tub to walk-in or wheelchair-accessible shower

Poison Prevention

  • Store non-food items away from food Install a carbon monoxide detector outside sleeping area
  • Do not mix household products together unless you know it's safe
  • Store all medication in its original container

 Fire Safety and Prevention

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home
  • Prepare an escape plan Never leave cooking unattended
  • Turn handles in over stove when cooking Never leave candles burning unattended
  • Keep space heaters three feet away from flammables
  • Have a service person inspect chimneys, furnaces, etc.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of fireplace
  • Smoke outside Use ashtrays if smoking inside
  • Douse cigarette butts before disposing
  • Douse matches before disposing
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher
  • Don't bring gasoline into the home
  • Don't overload outlets
  • Never use worn or frayed cords
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use

Accident/Injury Prevention

  • Monitor medication usage to prevent over/under use
  • Toss expired medication Wear gloves when handling chemicals
  • Wear oven mitts when cooking
  • Lower water heater to 120 Install an alarm system that would enable you to call someone in the event of any emergency

CHILDREN

Fall Prevention

  • Install gates at the top/bottom of stairways
  • Install guard rails over windows more than two stories up
  • Keep toys clear from stairways and landings
  • Immediately clean up spills

Poison Prevention

  • Keep all household chemicals away from children's reach
  • Lock up all chemicals in lower cabinets
  • Use child-prevention caps on medications
  • Do not store medications in nightstand, purse or other easily accessible area
  • Immediately mop up spills of anti-freeze(1-800-222-1222) near your phone
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector outside sleeping area Keep trash cans away from children

Fire Safety and Prevention

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home
  • Prepare an escape plan Never leave cooking unattended
  • Turn handles in over stove when cooking
  • Never leave candles burning unattended
  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet
  • Keep space heaters three feet away from flammables
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of fireplace
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use

Accident Injury Prevention

  • Don't let buckets of water sit unattended
  • Install fence/gate around pool Keep exposed outlets covered with safety caps
  • Purchase age-appropriate toys Keep small parts/items away from children
  • Cut up food into small bites, especially round foods such as hot dogs
  • Keep latex balloons away from children Inspect toys and teethers for small or loose parts
  • Never hang [pictures, quilts, or decorations containing string over the crib or bed
  • Tie up cords from blinds out of reach
  • Verify that space between guardrail and bed is less than 3.5 inches
  • Keep children away from workspace or office when not occupied
  • Do not permit children to climb on bookcases, file cabinets or dressers
  • Keep scissors, tools, tacks, etc. away from children
  • Unplug shredder when not in use
  • Keep emergency numbers near the telephone
  • Lower water heater to 120
  • Do not drink hot liquids while holding children
  • Test temperature of food/drinks from the microwave before serving

While no system is completely fool-proof, with care and observation you can create a safer home environment for yourself and loved ones. Take a walk through your home now and look at it from a new perspective--that of a toddler or senior. You might be surprised at what you find.

 

 

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