Accidents around the house are common. A bump here, a slip there — accidents will happen. However, these everyday occurrences can be dangerous when those involved are young kids or senior family members. Here are some of the most common household accidents and what you can do to prevent them.
Falls and Slips
Kids may take falls and slips in stride, but these can be dangerous to the elderly. Bathrooms are where most of these accidents occur, but they can be minimized by installing bathroom safety accessories for the elderly like grab bars and safety rails. Make sure to remove rugs or anything that might slip from under the feet or tangle a walking stick. In other parts of the house, make sure the floor is clean and tidy. Teach kids to store their toys after playing and discourage them from running inside the house.
Burns and Scalding
Burns can be extremely painful and dangerous regardless of your age. Anti-scald devices can mitigate the risks of scalding while using the faucet or showers. Purchase longer oven mitts that reach down to the elbows and make sure you have a smoke detector just in case a fire breaks out. Avoid serving food or drinks that are overly hot. Children have a tendency to gulp down their drinks so serving hot drinks can burn their tongue or worse.
Falling objects — even small and light ones — can be dangerous if they hit a vulnerable spot. A hit to the eye or nose can be painful and even cause severe injuries. Keep commonly used items at arm’s length, especially in the kitchen. Storing items on overhead shelves can make them less accessible to seniors who may have visibility or mobility problems. Avoid storing trinkets for display in places where they can be tipped over or be made to fall. Keep trophies inside cabinets and not on top of them.
Poison and Medication
Children could get their hands on medicine, harmful household products, and even cosmetics if they are not stored properly. Store potentially harmful chemical products inside locked storage or outside the house. Keep medication and cosmetic products inaccessible to children and keep the younger ones under supervision.
Senior family members may have difficulties with their medication. If you are not able to give them the pills yourself, at least provide them with a medicine planner so they can keep better track of their pills.
A child choking from food or a foreign object is a frightening sight. Provide children with toys that are safe for their age and keep small objects away from their reach. If a child is coughing or gagging, encourage them to cough or try to dislodge the obstructing object through back blows or the Heimlich maneuver. A senior family member may also be prone to choking on food, especially if they have a habit of speaking while eating. If a senior family member already has trouble eating, prepare food that is easy to chew or cut into small portions.
You can take steps to minimize the risks of accidents in your home, but you can’t eliminate them entirely. There will always be accidents. Do your best to make your house safer, have emergency services numbers at the ready, and try to keep a clear head when accidents do occur.