Our homes are private sanctuaries of relaxation and protection... But accidents at home can still happen. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 53.6 percent of all injury-related accidents occur at home. Every year, over 12,000 people in Australia die of preventable injuries. These deaths are not from the workplace. They occurred in homes and communities.
We do spend a lot of time at home, so we’re more at risk of accidents than we realise. Elderly people and children are also at higher risk of injury at home, and even minor accidents can have a larger effect on them. Fortunately, many of these accidents are preventable. We listed eight common home accidents so that you can keep your family as safe as possible.
The kitchen is where some of the most severe home accidents happen, and cuts are the most common injuries. Use sharp knives when cutting. Using a dull knife requires you to apply more force. Thus, the knife is more likely to slip. Clean your knives properly, and choose a dishwasher-safe knife. Keeping them sharp and clean are some of the easiest ways to keep them safe.
“If you have children at home, store your knives, scissors, forks, and other sharp utensils in a drawer with a safety latch.”
There are safe slicing techniques you can use to prevent finger cuts. If you or a family member are prone to cuts, you can wear protective gear like cut-resistant gloves or stainless steel mesh gloves and pay attention to what you’re cutting. If you have children at home, store your knives, scissors, forks, and other sharp utensils in a drawer with a safety latch out of reach.
Home fires can be because of cooking, electrical outlet burn-out, or overheating appliances.
- Buy guaranteed safe appliances and gadgets.
- Keep your electrical appliances away from water.
- Unplug devices when not in use, and cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps.
A fire extinguisher on every floor of your house is also helpful. Be sure to have well-equipped smart smoke alarms to detect fires faster and get you notified if a fire is occurring. Cookers, hot liquids, iron, and matches are common causes of burns. Never leave items cooking on the stove unattended. When using chemicals, always wear protective eyewear and clothing.
Keep hot liquids or objects out of reach of children and even to your pets. Make sure to check the temperature of the food before serving it and don’t heat a baby's bottle in the microwave.
Many everyday household products are poisonous if consumed or inhaled. Most poisoning incidents involve medicines, so make sure always to check the expiration dates of your meds. Always follow your doctor’s prescriptions, and never mix or take more without a doctor’s approval.
Store other potential poisons like cleaning products and other household chemicals in a high cabinet far from reach. If you’re using it while cleaning, keep an eye on the bottles to avoid spills and make sure kids don’t play with them.
Kids and the elderly are prone to falls, and this is the most preventable accident ever. Prevent falls by installing assistance devices like grab bars or handrails for the elderly and gates around stairs for children. Keep your floors clutter-free. Tuck away cords and cables for safety. Store commonly used items in low, easy-to-reach places so you don’t need to use step stools as often.
One of the easiest ways to avoid slipping is to clean up food, drink, and other spills immediately. Use non-slip mats in the bathroom or tub and kitchen. Keep your home well-lit, particularly stairs and hallways, and you can also add non-slip strips to your stair steps. Practice good housekeeping and always make sure that things like spills, uneven walking surfaces, and poor lighting are dealt with quickly.
Children can easily swallow or choke on small items or food like marbles, buttons, small toys, nuts and hard candies. So it’s important to keep small objects out of reach of children. Choose toys designed safe for kids. Tuck away curtain ropes, appliance cables and cords that can potentially cause choking.
When feeding children, cut food into small pieces. Avoid giving kids spoonfuls of sticky food as it may stick in the throat. If you’re an adult who has mild swallowing trouble, take small bites and chew thoroughly. Don't talk while you’re eating. Clear your throat between bites and drink liquids often. You may also adjust the types of foods you eat.
Water safety is essential, especially if you have kids. Filled bathtubs, swimming pools, garden ponds, and even buckets of water and sinks can be harmful. Babies and toddlers can drown in very shallow water, so be sure to keep an eye on them during baths.
Keep your bathroom door closed and secure a cover on bathtubs when not in use. Empty buckets or other containers directly after use. If you have a swimming pool, install a fence at least 5 feet high on all sides of the pool. Avoid fences that children can easily climb.
Back and shoulder injuries
Back and shoulder injuries are really very common from lifting/pushing furniture, often to clean underneath them. Minor sprains and strains heal over time, but that’s weeks of pain, and it can lead to a more severe condition if not prevented.
When lifting or pushing heavy objects, distribute your weight on your feet, straighten your back and tighten your abdominal muscles to avoid injury. When cleaning high places, avoid tension on your shoulders and neck. Don't work too high above your head or stretch too far. Use a durable step tool to reach high places and consider alternating both hands while sweeping.
When mopping or vacuuming, avoid bending your back. Stand up straight and try not to get broader than the width of your body. However, you may find it hard to always watch your movements, shift your weight from side to side to relieve pressure from your back, neck and shoulders, and kneel down if you have to sweep under furniture.
Invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner like robot vacuums. They’re new models of vacuums that have advanced methods to achieve the task as efficiently as possible on your behalf. They vacuum furniture, floors and other hard to reach surfaces, so you don’t have to bend, kneel down or spend so much time cleaning.
With robot vacuums, you avoid so many accidents like falls and back and shoulder injuries.
“The soreness you feel after cleaning may come from pulled or strained muscles. With the help of proper posture and quality tools, you can avoid injury and other accidents.”
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