Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal unintentional injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms. Accidental poisoning, choking, drowning, fires, smoke and suffocation also make the list of injuries sustained at home that send people to emergency rooms.
The term 'safe at home' is only valid when people take steps to make their homes safe from falls, electrical shocks, fires, drowning, strangulations and other potential dangers. At the bottom of this page are several links to sites with home safety check lists. Make sure your home is safe for everyone in it by following some simple guidelines.
To Prevent Falls:
- Tack down small rugs and runners throughout the house or use slip-resistant rugs.
- Do not place electrical, telephone or other wires in walkways.
- Use grab bars and non-skid mats in bathtubs and showers.
- Install sturdy hand rails on both sides of all stairways.
- Never store items on stairways.
- Use toddler gates at the top and bottom of stairs if small children are in the house.
- Never leave anything with wheels at the top of stairs.
- Make sure stairways are well lit, with light switches at the top and bottom.
- Make sure that steps provide firm footing and that the edges are easy to see.
- Use a stable stepstool with a handrail for reaching high shelves.
- Install and use a night light in bathrooms and hallways.
To Prevent Accidental Poisonings:
- Keep all medicines in child-resistant containers and out of the reach of children.
- Make sure all medicines are clearly marked, stored in their original containers and properly disposed of when outdated.
- Store household chemicals, including cleaning supplies, pesticides and pool chemicals, in a safe place out of the reach of children.
- Use locks to keep children out of areas where dangerous items or chemicals may be stored.
To Prevent Other Injuries:
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove and away from burners when cooking so they can't be accidentally knocked off.
- Keep oven mitts, towels and other flammables away from cook top surfaces.
- Store knives and other sharp objects out of the reach of children.
- Keep hot liquids out of the reach of children.
- Avoid storing items over or near the stove that might attract children.
- Use ground-fault circuit interrupters for electrical outlets near kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Keep appliance cords away from the sink and stove, and unplug appliances when not in use.
- Do not run electrical cords beneath rugs or furniture.
- Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords.
- Never nail or staple wiring to baseboards or walls.
- Install and properly maintain a smoke detector in your home.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street.
For more information about home safety, check out the Home Safety Council's home safety checklist at:
the Underwriters Laboratories home safety inspection checklist at:
and the National Fire Protection Association checklist for kids at: