Falls, poisoning, and burns all present unique risks.
If you’re like most people, you think that your home is the epitome of a safe place– but your home could be a lot more dangerous than you might think. Statistics indicate that more than 20 million Americans visit the hospital and nearly 20,000 Americans die each year due to household injuries.
Why do so many of us get injured at home? It’s hard to say for sure–perhaps it’s because we let our guard down at home– or maybe just the fact that we spend so much time there makes us vulnerable. No matter what the reason for the massive amount of household injuries in the U.S., it pays to know which ones are the most common– so you and your family can take smart steps to avoid them.
Falls are the most common home injury and especially dangerous for elderly individuals.
Falls are the cause of 8.9 million trips to the ER each year in the United States– and older Americans are particularly affected. Because older people are around four times more likely to die from a fall when compared to younger ones, making your house fall-proof is especially important if you or someone who lives at your home is over 65 years old.
To begin the fall-proofing process, make sure that any spills, leaks, or otherwise damp areas are cleaned and/or fixed immediately, as damp surfaces present a significant risk of slip-and-falls. For this reason, it’s also important to make sure that floors are dried thoroughly after being cleaned or waxed.
Preventing falls isn’t just about maintaining the safety of your home, it’s also about practicing safe behaviors while you’re at home. Whenever possible, avoid standing on high surfaces to reach cabinets or objects, and never stand on anything with wheels, such as office chairs or storage and delivery carts.
Many Americans disregard medication safety rules, making home poisoning incredibly common for children.
Four-fifths of accidental poisonings each year occur when a child takes an adult’s medication– so if you live with children, keeping your medications safe can greatly prevent the chance of a poisoning occurring in your home. This means double checking to make sure medication bottles are closed and the safety locks are fully engaged, as well as potentially locking your medicine cabinet as well. It’s also a good idea to never try to convince young children that medication is candy in an attempt to make it more appealing. This could easily lead to them finding and taking your prescription medication, which may result in serious injury or even death for the child.
For adults and families, one of the biggest poisoning risks is carbon monoxide poisoning— often caused by cars being left on in closed garages and home-based machinery like the gas generators often used during power outages. Make sure to always turn your car off immediately if you have a closed garage, and to never operate gas-based machinery in your home without keeping doors and windows open throughout use.
Burns from hot water, flames and chemicals can inflict some of the most serious home injuries.
Burns might be most common in the kitchen, but they happen in the bathroom as well. And it’s not just little chemical burns that cause the biggest problems– it’s also large fires which result in serious injuries and even death for a great deal of Americans. More than 3,000 people in the U.S. die of home-based burns each year. While fire prevention tips are mostly outside the scope of this article, always be careful when cooking, never leave a flame, candle, oven, or toaster unattended for an extended period of time, and don’t let children near matches, lighters, or other flammable materials.
While fires might present the biggest risk to safety inside the home, it’s not the only way to get burned. Harsh cleaning chemicals like bleach and pool-cleaning solutions can often cause serious burns if they make direct contact with skin, so if you plan to handle these chemicals, wear protective gloves and long sleeves. And, while they present more of a long-term risk to health than a short-term one, if you decide to do any outdoor sunbathing, make sure you and any fellow sunbathers wear sunscreen and don’t sit directly in the sun for more than an hour or two at once.
To learn more about how to protect you and your family from home injuries and other potential safety threats, contact Avante Insurance today for a free consultation.