To many people, the home is a sanctuary designed to provide comfort and security from the outside world. Unfortunately, the truth is that your home houses several unique dangers that can contribute to accidental injuries, and even death without the appropriate caution. In fact, statistics show that more than 18,000 Americans die each year from exposure to dangerous circumstances or accidents in the home. Your home is the second most dangerous location you spend a lot of time in (behind your car), and the second most common location of accidental deaths. While the most common victims are the elderly and children, it's worth noting that anyone can suffer from serious home dangers when exposed to the right circumstances. Following, we'll look at some of the most important safety statistics you should know - and what you can do to make your home a more risk-free place to life.
Falls are by far the most common cause of accidental injury and death in the home. In 2013 alone, 123 children under the age of 19 died because of a fall at home. What's more, the CDC suggests that one out of three adults over the age of 65 will generally experience a fall. An awkward trip on the stairs or a misplaced foot on a ladder can be fatal, leading to fractures, head trauma, and lacerations. The best way to reduce falling risks in your home is to evaluate the space for potential dangers. Install grab bars in showers and bathrooms for elderly people and children, and ensure that railings on stairs are sturdy. Remove trip hazards like electrical cords, and make sure that stairways and hallways are well-lit. It's also worth working to keep your home neat and tidy - clearing away toys and shoes, and cleaning spills immediately.
Accidental fires are a serious concern for homeowners. The structural fires that took place in 2015 led to 2,685 civilian deaths, 13,000 injuries, and around $10.3 billion in damages. To protect against fires, the most important thing a homeowner can do is to install and maintain a working smoke alarm. According to research, around three in every five deaths caused by home fires occurred on properties without working smoke alarms. Fires can occur for a range of reasons, from leaving burning candles unattended, to ignoring food cooking on the stove. Around 48% of building fires happen while cooking. This means it's a good idea to keep a working fire extinguisher on every floor of your house. You should also write out an emergency fire plan that your family are familiar with, to help you get to safety in the event of a disaster.
Unfortunately, 1.7 million children live in homes where guns aren't properly locked away - raising the chances of unsafe gun handling. It is crucial to lock all guns in specialist gun safes to keep your family protected from the dangers of firearms. Remember, you should never store your gun loaded either - or keep it in an unlocked or unsecured location.
Poisoning is a common cause of accidental death. Not only do injuries occur when children consume toxic substances like bleach or rat poison, but medications can also be the culprit for accidental deaths. In fact, mixing medications or overdosing is one of the top causes of household poisoning problems for middle-aged and young people. To avoid disaster, keep dangerous substances locked away in safes when you aren't using them. This will prevent children from getting their hands on substances that could be potentially fatal. At the same time, avoid mixing medications or combining them with alcohol. Always follow the recommendations given by your doctor.
Finally, airway obstruction is a significant concern in the home for the elderly, and younger children. Anything that is small enough to pass through a toilet paper tube is small enough to represent significant danger to a child. Be on the lookout for small toys and coins that could clog up airways when swallowed, and learn the Heimlich maneuver if possible for sudden emergencies. Remember to cut up food into small pieces for children, and ensure that cribs are free from obstructions like blankets and soft toys. Your child's crib should be virtually empty, aside from the baby.
How Safe is Your Home?
The home can be a place of sanctuary for your family - but only if you take the right precautions to limit the various risks that are present within any household. Keep the statistics above in mind, and use our tips to keep yourself, and your family, safe.