June is home safety month – Facts and prevention tips

Your home is supposed to be a place where you and your loved ones feel safe and secure. It’s your sanctuary, your place of respite from the demands of the world. Unfortunately, home safety – or the lack thereof – can do a lot to dispel feelings of security and peace.

According to the National Safety Council, in one year, over 90,000 people died of unintentional accidents at home or in their communities and over 30 million other people sustained non-fatal injuries.

The majority of home safety related incidents were attributed to:

  • Drowning – There were 1,100  deaths in 2009 — a 10 percent increase over the year prior.
  • Falls -Account for 8.9 million annual trips to emergency rooms in the U.S.
  • Poisoning – Responsible for more than half of all home-related unintentional injury deaths.
  • Burns – Scalds, fire, chemicals, electricity and overexposure to the sun are the most common cause of burns.
  • Choking – Along with suffocation, is the fourth leading cause of home and community deaths in the U.S.
  • Fire – The third leading cause of fatal home injuries; 70 percent of these deaths are due to smoke inhalation.
  • Unintentional overdoses – Responsible for 1 million emergency room visits every year in the U.S.

Ouch! The stats above are sobering to say the least. But we’ve all done it – tripping over  shoes left haphazardly in walkways or burning a finger while preparing dinner. But, there are many ways in which we can protect those we love while in our home, including:

  • Drowning – Never take your eyes off your children – designate a “pool watcher” and install a 4-foot barrier with self latching gates around the pool.
  • Falls – After washing your floors, wait until they are dry before walking on it; keep walking paths clear of obstacles.
  • Poisoning – Listen for the ‘click’ of a safety cap when closing medications; store household cleaners out of sight and out of reach of young children.
  • Burns – Serious burns may require medical treatment, but minor burns can be treated at home. Click here for at home treatment tips.
  • Choking – Keep small objects out of the reach of infants and children; cut foods into bite size pieces; refrain from laughing or talking while eating; chew foods slowly.
  • Fire – Install smoke alarms; check the batteries in your smoke alarms every year; plan a family escape route; install a home sprinkler system; learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Unintentional overdoses – Never tell your child that medications are candy; make sure all medications are locked up; dispose of unused or unwanted medications at events such as National Drug Take-Back Day.

Being aware of the dangers lurking around your home is a step in the right direction to preventing them. Scope out your house today…what improvements can you make?

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Photo credit: Cliff Johnson

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