Written By: Patrick Brown
Your home is often considered a safe haven for your family. As a result, it is easy to overlook the dangers that are present within the home. It doesn’t take much to let your guard down when you’re in your own living quarters, but doing so can lead to injuries that could potentially be long-term or even life threatening. Accidents happen, especially with little ones running around. Many of the accidents that occur at home are easily preventable, and with these tips, you can keep your entire family safe from the most common home injuries.
1. Slips and Falls
Slipping and falling is common with children; it is inevitable, and usually harmless. However, there are some situations where a simple slip and fall can cause serious harm. Fortunately, you can easily prevent falls from happening by taking small steps to safeguard your home. To decrease the chances of slips and falls occurring, be sure to do the following:
- Remove clutter from stairs and walkways to provide a clear and safe path for your kids.
- All staircases inside and outside of your home should have handrails and sufficient lighting.
- Install grab bars and non-slip mats in your bathroom to make it a no-slip zone.
- Baby gates are a must for parents with young children, as they keep them away from stairs, balconies and landings.
- Avoid purchasing throw rugs. They are a tripping hazard for both the young and the elderly.
When household cleaning supplies, soaps, detergents and other products are stored in the cupboards of your home, there is a significant risk of poisoning. According to Parachute Canada, half of all poison cases occur with children under the age of 6, and the Public Health Agency of Canada estimated that approximately three deaths each year for kids under the age of 14 are due to poisoning from household items. Another 900 are hospitalized with serious injuries. You certainly want to take all precautions to ensure that you keep your kids away from dangerous substances. Follow these tips to ensure precautionary measures are in place:
- Store dangerous chemicals, medications and other harmful products on high shelves, and out of reach of children.
- Install childproof locks on cabinets that contain harmful products.
- Never leave medications and harmful products in your purse.
- Always store products in the original container.
- Follow product directions on the container label.
3. Knife-related Injuries
The kitchen can be a dangerous place. Considering that the kitchen is typically the heart of the home, it is necessary to take proper precautions to ensure the safety of your children. Knives and other sharp objects are often stored in cupboards and on countertops, directly in the reach of children. It is imperative to follow these tips to avoid preventable injuries:
- Store knives out of reach of small children, such as in a locked drawer or in a knife block pushed back on the counter.
- Teach your child about knife safety; to never run in the kitchen or while holding a knife or any sharp object.
- Give small children a plastic knife, and supervise older ones using a real knife.
4. Fire and Burns
Fires are another common household accident that can easily be prevented. Cooking is one of the main causes of home fires, and the kitchen is full of hot appliances and burners that can cause serious harm to your child. Implement fire safety practices to ensure the safety of your entire family, as well as your possessions and your home. Follow these tips to decrease the chances of injuries:
- Install working smoke alarms on every level of your home, and test them frequently.
- Teach your child about the dangers in the kitchen.
- Teach your child about the dangers of fire, and that it should never be played with.
- Be careful when cooking, and use oven mitts, roll up your sleeves, use back burners etc.
- Stay on top of regular maintenance on your chimney, furnace, stove, fireplaces etc.
- Implement a safety and escape plan in case of a fire, and make sure your child memorizes it.
5. Choking and Suffocation
Choking is a rare, but often fatal accident. According to Don’t Choke, 40% of unintentional injuries in infants are caused by choking and suffocation. The majority of choking fatalities occur in the first year of life, and approximately 95% of deaths from choking occur in the home. Keep your kids safe by following these steps:
- Never leave your child unattended when eating.
- Do regular house checks (under the bed, on the floor, in between couch cushions, etc.) to ensure that small items won’t get in the hands of small ones.
- Remember that if it’s small enough to go down the toilet, it is a choking hazard.
- Always follow the recommended ages on toys.
- Remove strings and dangling objects from your household.
These common accidents can happen to anyone. More importantly, they can be easily prevented with some small adjustments and knowledge.