Winnie the Pooh once said, “home is the comfiest place to be,” but others of us wonder, is it the safest? According to research and data shared by Injury Facts, (https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/home-and-community/home-and-community-overview/introduction/), homes can be some of the most dangerous places in our lives. Which makes sense right? Because we spend so much time there, we cook there, sleep, do projects, raise children, etc. How dangerous can it really get? Well, according to Injury Facts, 2020 data shows it’s pretty scary. “An estimated 156,300 preventable injury-related deaths occurred in homes and communities, or about 78% of all preventable injury-related deaths that year. The number of deaths was up 18.9% from the 2019 total of 131,400. An additional 46,800,000 people suffered nonfatal medically consulted injuries. The death rate per 100,000 population was 47.4 – about 18.4% higher than the 2019 rate.” Numbers are likely higher as many of us were “staying home,” due to the global pandemic, but it looks like not enough of us were “staying safe.”
How are homes so dangerous? Well, haven’t you ever tried to be a hero at home? Lift something you know is too heavy like you are suddenly the Hulk. Try to hide belongings up too high on a shelf as if you could just fly up there later to get them. Stood on a wobbly chair or stool to do something as if you are not capable of injury? It’s true, we take far too many risks at home that we would never want anyone else to take, so how do we stay home safer? How do we check our ego or ignorance at the door and reduce our at-home health scares? Easy, it’s as simple as:
- Never do more than one thing at a time. If you are holding a baby, hold the baby. If you are watching something on the stove, stay by the stove. Multi-tasking and running around the house are how many innocent mistakes start. Next thing you know; you’ve fallen with a baby in your arms, or you have a fire in the kitchen from leaving the stove unattended. Do one thing at a time.
- Always make sure there are at least 2 people (as in 2 capable of calling 911 people) at home when doing “a project.” If you are going to be using any tools, moving objects, or even painting on a ladder, there should be at least two people in the home. Better yet, let them help you too!
- Think of three lines of defense as a minimum! According to the above-mentioned website, Injury Facts shares, “The leading cause of death in our homes and communities is poisoning (56%), followed by falls (26%).” What are three things you can do to make your home safer? (In general, 3 is just a starting point!)
- Safety locks on all poisonous products, including alcohol and medications
- Stay safe grips for bathtubs and bathrooms
- Railings on all staircases
- Make sure to have fire and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home and that they are working
- No loose rugs or exposed wires on walkways
- Added light switches for the tops and bottoms of all staircases and on both sides of rooms
- Security systems inside and out
- Life alert or wearable emergency call devices
- Get a fire extinguisher and know where it is
- Have a plan for emergencies. Who will you call? How will you get out?
Other ways to stay safer at home are just to be prepared. Have a well-stocked first aid kit and replace any used items immediately. Have enough food and water in case you might be at home for an extended period of time (especially now as Covid lingers), post your street address in an easy-to-find place, get to know your neighbors, and ask for help. In reality, we are only as strong and healthy as our community is. On the whole, let’s do our best to be as safe as possible both out-and-about but also at home! Surely, we can all make some improvements to stay safer at home.
Director of The Wellness Center