There is no place like home for children growing up or growing old. However, children & the elderly are more prone to injuries at home than anywhere else as they spent a lot of time at home. No doubt they should be subjected to constant supervision but it is also imperative to make the home safe as well.
As we say, Prevention is better than Cure!
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of injury is to make some physical changes around the house. Look at your home and think about what the obvious risks and hazards are. Remove the risk or hazard, if possible, or add a safety product to minimise the chance of injury.
Before considering what safety precautions you need, remember you can always change the layout of a room to help create a safer environment. If you are building or renovating your house, you can incorporate specific safety features in your design. Incorporating safety features at the design point in the majority of cases will be much more economical than to amend and make it safer at a later time.
Make home safe: Easy things you must do
Preventing falls at home for both Child & Elderlies – “To Do List” on Home Safety
Falls are the most common cause of injuries in every age group. Some tips to combat this issue are:
- To install safety guards across entries to stairs and balconies and to always supervise your child / elderly on stairs and balconies, even if you have guards.
- To remove throw rugs and loose mats and to make sure larger rugs are not rippled or torn.
- To remove extension cords and other potential tripping hazards such as books, plastics, clothes and shoes from pathways.
- To move low tables and other furniture to make it easier to move around the house.
- To make sure chairs are of right height and have sturdy armrests.
- To check to ensure light fixtures have at least 60-watt bulbs and that nightlights are available in hallways, bathrooms and bedroom.
- To make sure handrails in the home (at appropriate places) are sturdy and in good conditions.
- To use non-skid mats in the bathtub and on shower floors and install grab bars next to the toilet or shower wherever necessary.
- To lock windows, particularly upper-storey windows or shield them with firmly attached window guards so your child can’t fall out. Use window guards and safety netting to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks and landings.
- To use corner and edge bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces. Corner and edge bumpers can be used with furniture to help prevent injuries from falls and to soften/cushion falls against sharp and rough edges.
More Home Safety Tips to follow:
Bathroom Safety: One very important point that needs special mention is keeping the Bathroom dry. Elderly people mostly slip off at wet areas and cause irreplaceable damage to themselves. Even a small spill on the floor should be wiped away immediately. This point should be kept in mind and taken care of accordingly.
- Leave a light on in your bathroom at night.
- Skid-proof the tub and make sure the bath mat has a non-slip bottom.
- Install hand rails.
- Mark cold and hot faucets clearly.
- Use door locks that can be opened from both sides.
- If possible, bathe only when help is available.
Water safety / Do Not Leave Your Kids Alone in the Water: Use door locks to help prevent children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers, including bath tubs / swimming pools. Water safety depends on 100% supervision whenever your child is around water pools, baths and buckets with water. For bath safety, always supervise and give your full attention to babies, toddlers and children in the bath. Make sure the water level is not more than the waist line of your kid when you place her/him in a tub or sink.
Tips for electrical safety at home:
- Get a licensed electrician to install safety switches, which cut power off quickly to avoid electrocution.
- Get a licensed electrician to do any repairs.
- Replace electrical appliances and cords if they’re worn.
- Use power point covers.
Burns and scalds: Keep your child / elders away from fire and hot surfaces, especially around stoves, ovens, microwaves, heaters and other appliances. Hot drinks and too-hot baths are a major cause of scalds. Keep hot drinks away from and out of reach. Use anti-scald devices for faucets and shower heads.
Strangulation and suffocation especially for children: These items include soft toys, bedding, blinds, cords and ropes, and bags, boxes and packaging. Here are some essential safety tips:
- Keep stuffed toys, cushions and piles of clothing out of baby’s reach.
- Wrap blinds cords in cleats attached to the wall at least 1.6 m above the floor.
- Tie knots in plastic bags, and keep them away from children.
Tips to keep your family safe around glass: Install safety glass in windows and doors or apply shatter-resistant film to windows and doors of older homes. Put stickers on glass at eye level.
Poisoning for both Child & Elderlies: Poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury to children and elder people, often poisoned by common household chemicals and medicines. Remove potential poison items. Store chemicals, medicines, cleaning supplies and other poisons high up in a locked cupboard or cabinet. Children can’t tell the difference between medicine and candy. Install child-safety latch on the doors of cupboards where you keep your poisonous items.
Channelize your child’s inner Spiderman/Superman: One common accident that occurs in every other household is when a child tries to imitate any cartoon or superhero character. Parents should make it a point to make the children understand the danger of imitation. They should be made to differentiate the ‘reel from real’ and it should be a continuous process.
Remote control has a missing battery cover: Be especially careful of button batteries, the kind you find in watches, greeting cards, and some toys which are higher voltage than traditional batteries. If your child swallows any type of battery, it can get lodged in the oesophagus and cause severe damage.
Indoor Surveillance Cameras: Children / Older people might have in-home caretakers, maintenance staff or other hired help who come and go. That’s where indoor cameras come in handy. These surveillance cameras keep a watchful eye on the home to protect against theft, abuse and other crimes.
Most of the tips covered are applicable for both Child Safety as well as for Elderlies.
No matter how careful you are, it is essential that you stay prepared in case there is an emergency condition. Fortunately, mishaps or accidents can certainly be avoided through preventive measures and by educating your kids about safety rules to be followed at home. But remember your ‘Dennis the Menace’ will find every opportunity to be innovatively naughty as much as possible. So Be Alert & Safe and Happy parenting – for both your child and your parents!