Preventing accidents at home is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of all family members. Accidents that occur in the home can range from minor injuries to severe injuries and even death, but many simple steps can be taken to prevent accidents from occurring since these can happen unexpectedly and can have serious consequences. However, many home accidents can be prevented by being aware of potential hazards and taking steps to mitigate them.
Accident prevention at home refers to the measures taken to reduce the risk of accidents occurring in the home environment. This can include keeping walkways and stairways clear, installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, keeping toxic substances out of reach, and ensuring appliances are in good working order. The goal of accident prevention at home is to create a safer environment for all family members and reduce the risk of injuries or death. Accident prevention is necessary, considering that according to the National Safety Council, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for people aged 1-44 in the United States. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that unintentional injuries in the home cause over 20,000 deaths yearly in the US. These injuries can result from various causes, including falls, poisonings, and fires.
There are many potential hazards that can be found in a home, but some of the most common include:
- Fire hazards: Fires can be caused by faulty electrical wiring, unattended cooking, smoking, and overloaded outlets. All these can lead to fires and serious injuries or death.
- Fall hazards: These accidents can occur due to wet or slippery surfaces, uneven flooring, loose rugs, poor lighting, or cluttered walkways. Older adults and young children are particularly vulnerable to slips and falls.
- Carbon monoxide hazards: Faulty gas appliances or blocked chimneys can lead to the buildup of carbon monoxide in the home and ultimately poisoning.
- Chemical poisoning hazards: This can occur from ingesting harmful substances such as cleaning products, medications, or household chemicals. These should be stored properly to prevent accidental ingestion. Children are particularly vulnerable to chemical poisoning accidents.
- Drowning hazards: This can happen if a swimming pool or other body of water is not properly secured or supervised. Pools, hot tubs, and other bodies of water should be secured with fencing and covers to prevent drowning. Young children are at a higher risk of drowning.
- Electrical hazards: These can occur due to faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, exposed wires, frayed cords, or improper use of electrical appliances. All these can lead to electrical shock, and people of all ages can be at risk of electrical hazards.
It’s important to note that anyone can be affected by these hazards, but some groups are more vulnerable, such as children and older adults, who are more likely to suffer serious injuries or death from accidents in the home. It’s crucial to have safety measures in place to prevent these types of accidents from occurring and to be aware of the potential hazards to protect all family members and visitors.
What are some ways to prevent child injury in the home?
Making a home safe for children can seem daunting, but it really comes down to careful assessment. First, it’s best to cordon off parts of the home where the kids won’t be playing or otherwise spending time. You should restrict the children’s access to potentially dangerous areas like stairs, backyard pools, workshops, or anywhere else they don’t need to be. Focus on making places like the living room and bedroom safe, and keeping children in those rooms.
With that in mind, take a careful look at each room from the viewpoint of a child. What might they get into that could hurt them? Dangling cables, wobbling end tables, glass décor, and loose items on bookshelves could all be potentially dangerous to a curious child—the same goes for any small, swallowable objects. Keep cables wrapped up or put away, and move items on shelves away from the edges.
The kitchen can be particularly dangerous. Any loose items, especially sharp knives and heavy pots, should be put away when not in use, and left well away from the edges of counters otherwise. Pots on the stove should have their handles turned in, too.
Most importantly, supervision is key. Young children should never be left unsupervised, no matter how safe you’ve made the room.
Finally, keep in mind that the safety of others is also important.
If you plan on inviting other children over for playdates or to babysit with your own child, make sure that you are aware of any sensitivities or allergies they may suffer from, and ensure your home is safe in advance. You can be held legally responsible for injuries suffered by visitors to your home. Home insurance will help protect and defend you against many accidental injury lawsuits, but be aware that exclusions apply to many high-risk and business activities (including providing childcare for money, if you offer such services at your home).
Stefan Tirschler – Square One
What are some steps you can take to eliminate electrical hazards in the home?
Each year, electrical malfunctions account for 35,000 home fires causing over 1,130 injuries, 500 deaths, and $1.4 billion in property damage. Many existing homes can’t handle the demands of today’s electrical appliances and devices. The warning signs of an overloaded electrical system include frequent tripping of circuit breakers or blowing of fuses, dimming of lights when other devices are turned on, buzzing sounds from switches or outlets, discolored outlets, and appliances that seem underpowered.
To avoid electrical overloads, label your circuit breakers to understand the different circuits in your home. You should have your home inspected by a qualified electrician if older than 40 years or has had a major appliance installed. They can also install new circuits for high-energy use devices. You can further reduce your electrical load by using energy-efficient appliances and lighting.
Additional electrical hazards to avoid involve extension cords. Extension cords can overheat and cause fires, so using them properly is critical to your safety. Do not run through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors. If a cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard. Never plug a device that generates heat, such as a space heater, into an extension cord. They should be plugged directly into an electrical receptacle.
Brianne Deerwester – ESFi
What are the best electrical safety recommendations you can give to prevent fires at home?
Despite improvements in electrical safety standards and education, electrical fires still rank as one of the most common causes of household fires. Here are four simple tips to help keep your family safe and prevent electrical fires in your home.
Pulling the Plug
We’ve all heard the term, but please don’t take it literally! Being gentle when plugging in and unplugging can help keep your cords from splitting or fraying and becoming a hazard.
Fighting the Fray
Speaking of splitting and fraying, deteriorating cords can lead to exposed wiring, a major electrical safety hazard. Once a season, we recommend inspecting the power cords on your electronics and appliances and replacing any that are beginning to split or fray.
Know Your Limit
Using power bars or outlet extenders are a great way to make room for all your electronics, but be careful not to overload these devices. Overloading the circuit may cause overheating and, potentially, a fire.
Hire a Pro
We understand that electrical work can hurt your wallet, but not nearly as much as the cost of a house fire. Hiring a certified electrician to complete electrical work around your home is the only way to ensure hazards are avoided and work is completed safely.
Josh McCulloch – Oshawa Power
What is the recommended action plan in case of a home fire?
Does each member of the family know what to do in the event of a house fire?
Designing a fire safety plan and an evacuation plan, utilizing your basic floor plan, can be very helpful.
The residence must adhere to SANS 10400-part A, T, and W. If the house has a substantial value and cannot meet SANS 10400, a BS 7974-compliant design must be used, which South Africa has adopted.
Fire Safety Checklist
This is an excellent tool to have on hand when inspecting your home for potential fire hazards.
Once a week, check your DB board. Examine your electrical equipment and wiring for loose connections. If an accredited service provider installs the LPG system, check and handle the equipment in accordance with SANS 10087.
Regular cleaning of stove ovens is required to avoid creasy deposits that can cause a kitchen fire. Make sure that chemicals are stored in a lockable cabinet to prevent them from mixing.
The following are included in the fire safety plan:
• Portable fire extinguishers
• Overhead symbolic signs
• A Hose real is an example of additional equipment; see SANS 10400: Part T 3.34 and SANS 543.
Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan
All evacuation plans must be designed by an architect to meet the requirements of the regulatory body’s specified descriptions.
With great importance, all residents must be trained on how to use this equipment. Smoke detectors are to be installed in accordance with SANS 10139 which is based on BS 5839-1.
Emergency Action Plan
1. To contain the fire and stop it from spreading further, close the door in the area where it is located.
2. Activated the fire alarm system.
3. Call the fire department right away, and while they are in route, begin administering first aid and
putting out the fire while they are still in the early stages.
4. If your life is in danger while fighting the fire, make sure there is an emergency exit door.
General Home Fire Risks
• Deterioration of electrical and gas equipment and wiring.
• Burning candles and lamps, especially during load-shedding.
• Heaters and electric blankets
• Cigarettes and tobacco products.
• Gas leaks (avoid any spark)
• Children playing with matches.
• Overheated oil on stovetop
Practice Your Emergency Escape Procedures
Practice two exits from a room; if the door is blocked, use a window and try to escape within 2.5 minutes to avoid smoke inhalation.
Choose a safe meeting place away from your home as your assembly point. Every year, conduct at least three drills.
Evacuate with caution and assess the situation. SANS 10400 requires clear evacuation procedures and prompt access to firefighting equipment.
Consider your visitors who may come to your home if an emergency occurs. Consider the disabled people who may be present in such an emergency.
Herman Lombard – Fire Protection Association of South Africa
What are the most common causes of electrical accidents at home?
The most common causes of electrical accidents in the home are likely related to the most obvious source- the outlets. This is especially true if you have young children in the home. Electrical outlets are often at eye level for exploratory toddlers who are inclined to stick items in the holes and see what happens. If that item is metallic, it could lead to a very serious accident, and even if it isn’t it can still cause damage to the outlet or to other electrical devices being used at the time.
Replacing, changing, and performing maintenance on lighting fixtures can also lead to accidents. It’s imperative that if work is being done that the light isn’t just switched off, but that energy to the room or section of the home where the work is being performed is eliminated by flipping the circuit breaker, often located in the basement.
These circuit breakers should also be treated as a hazard because a lot of power flows through them and many parts inside the box can cause electrocution if touched or handled incorrectly. Electrical short, overload, or ground fault can all damage a circuit breaker. There is always a chance they can fail without tripping, causing damage to the breaker box, appliances in your home, and potentially starting a fire.
Circuit breakers also pose the risk of arc flash incidents, especially if maintenance is being performed on the box. Homeowners are advised to always hire a certified electrician if work needs to be done on circuit breaker.
Shane Mercer – Canadian Occupational Safety
How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning with a fireplace?
Since carbon monoxide has no taste or smell and is invisible, it can be challenging to tell when levels are too high. In addition, Creosote, twigs, dirt, and other debris accumulation in your chimney prevents it from effectively venting toxins and smoke from the fire. Another unfavorable outcome is the generation of carbon monoxide, which can be fatal.
To prevent CO poisoning, it’s important to take the following steps:
Have your fireplace and chimney inspected annually by a professional to make sure they are working properly and venting properly.
Make sure your fireplace is properly vented to the outside and that the chimney is free of obstructions, such as bird nests or creosote buildup.
Use only dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace, and make sure the fire is completely extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.
Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. Make sure the detectors are in good working order and replace the batteries regularly.
Do not use your stove or oven to heat your home, and do not burn charcoal or use a generator or other fuel-powered equipment in an enclosed space.
By following these simple steps, you can help ensure the safety of yourself and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect CO poisoning, seek fresh air immediately and call 911 or your local poison control center.
Vertical Chimney Care Team – VerticalChimney
Which modifications and safety measures would you recommend taking if you have a visually impaired family member at home?
Most of the helpful changes to make a home safer and more accessible for someone who is visually impaired are simple and inexpensive.
Lighting is critical and should include good general illumination as well as spotlighting. Needs vary by individual so you should experiment. Color contrast is also very important and can be accomplished with paint or other highlighting. Bright lighting often takes care of things but for certain types of vision loss, bright light can be problematic. You can also consider curtains and other sunlight-controlling solutions.
For individuals with very low vision, trip hazards become increasingly dangerous. Consider two adjustments. The first is to always keep everything in the same place. Rearranging furniture and storage areas requires a lot of unnecessary adjustment for the individual with low vision. Another simple trick is to mark passages with tape or paint. Always keep these passages clear especially with someone who is blind.
Finally, use puffy paint or some other three-dimensional marking to highlight important features. That includes oven, stove, and microwave settings. Similarly, mark other appliances such as your washer and dryer. Don’t forget the remote controls and other control devices for electronics.
Ed Henkler – The Blind Guide
What are some safety precautions to prevent accidents in the garage?
There are many safety precautions that can be taken to prevent accidents in your garage. Here are some examples:
Keep the garage clean and organized: Make sure that tools, equipment, and other items are stored properly and are not left on the floor where they could be a tripping hazard. Sweep the floor regularly to prevent debris from accumulating.
Use proper lighting: Make sure that the garage is well-lit so that you can see what you’re doing. Install additional lighting if necessary, and make sure that light bulbs are replaced when they burn out.
Wear appropriate clothing: When working in the garage, wear comfortable clothing that allows for freedom of movement. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that could get caught in machinery.
Use caution with power tools: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using power tools, and make sure that they are in good working order. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as goggles and ear protection, when using loud or powerful tools.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy: Accidents can happen, so it’s important to be prepared. Keep a fire extinguisher in the garage and know how to use it in case of emergency.
Be mindful of chemicals: Keep any chemicals, such as paints, solvents, or pesticides, in a safe location away from heat sources or open flames. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and disposal.
By following these safety precautions and being aware of potential hazards, you can help prevent accidents in the garage and keep yourself and others safe.
Danley’s team – Danley’s
What are the best bathroom safety recommendations you can give us to prevent falls in seniors?
As we age, it is important to ensure that our homes are safe and comfortable. This is especially true in the bathroom, where one wrong step can lead to a serious injury. Here are four essential bathroom safety tips for seniors to help them stay safe and independent in their homes.
1. Install Grab Bars
The first way to increase bathroom safety for seniors is to install grab bars near the toilet, tub, and shower. These bars provide extra support when getting in and out of the shower or tub and when using the toilet. They also make it easier to stand up from a seated position without fear of falling over or slipping on wet surfaces. The modern decorative styles help maintain the aesthetics of the space with options such as towel bars, soap dishes, and toilet paper holders.
2. Add Extra Lighting
Adding additional lighting near showers, tubs, toilets, and sinks can make it easier for seniors to see what they’re doing while bathing or using other facilities in the room. Motion sensors are an excellent option as they turn on automatically when someone enters the room. Night lights and dusk-to-dawn lights can provide extra lighting without searching for the switch.
3. Install Non-Slip Floor Mats
Another important safety feature to consider installing in your bathroom is a non-slip floor mat. These mats provide extra traction on slippery surfaces so that seniors can feel secure while getting in and out of the shower or bathtub. They also reduce the risk of falls, which is especially important for seniors who may have balance issues due to age or medical conditions.
4. Invest in Shower Chairs & Benches
Investing in shower chairs and benches makes it much easier for seniors with mobility issues or those recovering from surgery/injury as an option to stand up for bathing/showering each day!
Ensuring your bathroom is safe should be a top priority if you are caring for an elderly loved one or if you are aging gracefully into retirement years! By following these five essential bathroom safety tips for seniors you can make sure your loved one (or even yourself!) stays safe and independent at home! With some simple changes like adding non-slip floor mats, installing grab bars & benches, using light colors throughout your space, adding extra lighting fixtures & investing in shower chairs/benches – you too can create a safer environment that will allow everyone involved peace of mind while they use this important part of their home!
Fritzi Gros-Daillon – Age Safe America
What are some overlooked hazards for a child at home, and how do you recommend tackling these?
- Furniture and TVs: Anchor furniture and TVs throughout your home with anti-tip straps. Furniture risks come in all shapes and sizes. Tip-over hazards include heavy furniture, short dressers, tall dressers, bookcases, and more.
- Stairways! People often think about adding baby gates at the top of the stairs. Add a gate at both the top and the bottom of the stairs. Select the right kind — do not use pressure-mounted gates on stairways because they can be dislodged and are a tripping hazard due to the frame that rests on the floor.
- Blind cords are a hazard. The cords and loops are a strangulation risk. Replace older blinds with newer cordless products.
- Exit doors: secure doors to prevent children from wandering but be mindful of the need for emergency exit by adults with the type of locks you select.
- Home gyms and exercise equipment are a risk for young children. Block access to equipment with baby gates.
- What will your toddler try to climb today? Keep furniture, large toys, and home décor away from second-story railings, overlooks, and banisters so little ones can’t use them to climb on and possibly fall.
- Check for choking hazards throughout your home. Latch cabinets and drawers, secure batteries and magnets, and safely store older siblings’ toys with small parts away from toddlers.
Each home is different so consider consulting with a professional childproofer to help you identify hidden hazards. We often hear, “I didn’t realize that was a hazard,” when working with families during home visits. Safety is no accident – check your home today to be proactive and prevent injuries!
Colleen Driscoll – ChildproofingExperts.com
What are some safety precautions that can be taken when a home project is being completed?
Undertaking a home renovation or improvement project can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to take safety precautions to minimize the risk of injury. Here are some important safety tips to follow:
Plan ahead: Before starting any project, be sure to research the tools, materials, and techniques required and gather all necessary equipment.
Wear protective gear: Wear eye protection, gloves, and a dust mask when working with power tools or hazardous materials.
Avoid tripping hazards: Keep work areas clean and tidy, and be mindful of cords, hoses, and other tripping hazards.
Use tools properly: Make sure you understand how to use each tool before you start, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Store chemicals safely: Store hazardous chemicals, such as paint and cleaning supplies, in a safe and secure place, away from children and pets.
Avoid electrical hazards: Turn off the power to any area where you are working and be cautious of electrical wires and outlets.
Get help when needed: If you are unsure about how to complete a task, or if the project is beyond your skills and experience, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional.
By taking these safety precautions, you can help ensure that your home renovation project goes smoothly and that you, your family, and your home are protected from potential hazards.
Fedlco Team – Fedlco
How will you prevent chemical poisoning in your household?
Chemical poisoning is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can occur when toxic chemicals are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. In households, chemical poisoning can occur due to the use of common household chemicals, such as cleaning agents, pesticides, and personal care products. However, there are several ways to prevent chemical poisoning in your household, and choosing the right cleaning products can be a valuable tool in achieving this goal.
One way in which you can help prevent chemical poisoning in your household is by choosing non-toxic alternatives to common cleaning agents. Many traditional cleaning agents, such as bleach and ammonia, contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Sheiner’s, on the other hand, offers non-toxic cleaning solutions that are just as effective at cleaning but without potential health risks.
Simon Klein – Sheiner’s Cleaning Products
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about half of all eye injuries happen at home. Yet, only about three out of 10 people wear protective eyewear during home projects.
To help avoid eye injuries in and around the home, Prevent Blindness recommends the use of safety goggles when using hazardous solvents and detergents. Always read and follow all manufacturer instructions and warning labels and never mix cleaning agents. Safety goggles should have “ANSI Z87.1” stamped on the lenses or frames, meaning they have been certified by the American National Standards Institute.
In the yard, wear safety glasses or dust goggles to protect against flying particles, and chemical goggles to guard against exposure to fertilizers and pesticides. Before mowing or trimming, inspect and remove debris from lawns.
In the garage or shed, keep paints, pesticides, fertilizers, and similar products properly stored in a secure area. And, make sure to turn off power tools when near an unprotected bystander, especially when young children approach. Bystanders and helpers need eye protection when around tools that are in use.
After any project, make sure hands are washed thoroughly before touching the eyes or face.
What are the must-haves for your first aid kit?
A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for any household or workplace. Some essential items to include are:
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes for cuts and scrapes
- Sterile gauze and adhesive tape for dressing wounds
- Tweezers for removing splinters or other small foreign objects
- Scissors for cutting tape and clothing
- A thermometer for measuring body temperature
- Disposable gloves for protecting yourself and others from infection
- A CPR face shield for giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
- A first aid manual for reference and instructions
- A list of emergency phone numbers, including local emergency services and poison control
- Antiseptic wipes or solution for cleaning wounds
- Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- An instant cold pack for reducing swelling and pain
- A blanket to keep the person warm
It’s also a good idea to include any personal or family-specific items, such as epinephrine auto-injectors for severe allergic reactions or medications for chronic conditions. It’s a good practice to check the contents of your first aid kit regularly and replace any expired or used items. Something else you can do to prepare for an emergency is take an online CPR, AED, and First Aid training course online so you can be knowledgeable on life-saving techniques.
Mackenzie Thompson – Save a Life
What is a bleeding control kit and should everyone have one at home?
A bleeding control kit contains all of the items needed to stop traumatic blood loss. Think of it like a first aid kit for severe bleeding emergencies. It typically contains a tourniquet to stop blood flow in the major extremities, emergency trauma dressings, compressed gauze, and other blood loss prevention essentials. Some of the more advanced bleeding control kits will also contain items like chest seals and hemostatic gauze.
Every home should have a bleeding control kit because it provides the safest and most effective way to stop rapid blood loss in a bleeding emergency—and it can quite literally mean the difference between life and death. On average, it takes paramedics about 8 minutes to arrive at the scene of an emergency in the U.S. But if a household accident or trauma results in uncontrolled bleeding, it’s possible for the victim to bleed out in as little as 2 minutes. You simply don’t have time to wait for an ambulance in these situations, and you often can’t control the bleeding with standard gauze and dressings alone.
A bleeding control kit ensures that you have everything you need to prevent traumatic blood loss in those critical minutes while you wait for help to arrive. No home should be without it.
Brian Graddon – True Rescue
What medical supplies do you recommend to ensure safety if you have an elderly adult at home?
25 Medical Supplies to Assure Safety for Elderly Adults in the Home
Medical supplies for elderly adults can be very helpful tools for living an enjoyable and independent life. As we get older, some of the everyday tasks that used to be easy become more challenging. Arthritis, incontinence, weakened muscles, and low vision are common health conditions we face as we age. As our health declines, our needs increase. Many senior citizens live independently, which makes mobility and safety two significant concerns. With the right medical equipment and supplies designed specifically for aging adults, senior citizens can continue to live a more enjoyable and independent life.
We’ve put together a list of twenty-five essential medical supplies to assure safety for elderly adults that can be used to help make their homes more accessible and daily life safe. These geriatric supplies can help make daily tasks more manageable.
Our Top 25 Medical Supplies to Assure Safety for Elderly Adults
1. Personal Alert System – provides security and peace of mind for those who live alone and have a fall or medical emergency
2. Anti-fatigue floor mat – can help reduce muscle contraction, reduce pain, and improve circulation
3. Tray tables – medical supplies for elderly adults that allow one to sit comfortably and have food or other items within reach for better safety
4. Pill crusher – pulverizes large pills into a fine powder to dissolve in beverages, sprinkle on food, and make medications easier to take
5. Floor pedals – can help with daily exercise and prevent obesity, heart disease, and diabetes
6. Toilet seat riser – helps make sitting and standing from the toilet easier by reducing the distance between the toilet seat and the rear end
7. Vascular compression stockings – these medical supplies for elderly adults can help improve circulation and prevent leg swelling and blood clots
8. Grab bars – create a safer bathroom experience to help with stability and prevent falls near the toilet and in the shower
9. Handheld shower head – allow people who are disabled to shower while seated or rinse specific areas of the body without getting fully wet
10. Bathtub or shower transfer bench – helps with balance while getting in and out of a bathtub or sitting comfortably while showering
11. Waterproof mattress protector – protects against spills, allergens, bacteria, and incontinence episodes to lengthen the life of the mattress and help the user stay clean and sanitary
12. Overbed table – similar to a tray table but on wheels and serves as a surface for food, medical accessories, laptop, books, and more for accessibility within reach to avoid bending and lifting
13. Disposable incontinence underpays, bed pads, or chux – these medical supplies for elderly adults can be used to protect bedding, chairs, car seats, and more from incontinence leaks
14. Bed railings – provide additional support and security for those that need assistance getting in and out of bed and reduce the risk of falling out of the bed
15. Night lights – an inexpensive safety measure to illuminate areas of the home at night to help prevent falls or tripping
16. Medication organizer – a helpful medical supply to make medication management easier
17. Blood pressure monitor – regular use can help keep track of blood pressure getting out of range and can help reduce health risks
18. Adaptive clothing and shoes – these medical supplies for elderly adults include non-skid socks and shoes, Velcro closures, and elastic waistbands that provide extra comfort and safety and are easily and quickly removable
19. Smart speakers for hands-free capabilities – can help set voice reminders, get news and weather updates, play music, turn lights on and off, and are beneficial for those who are vision-impaired or have mobility challenges
20. Talking clocks and wristwatches – similar to smart speakers, these devices make voice announcements of the date and time for those with poor vision or who are blind
21. Automatic shut-off safety devices for kitchen appliances – these prevention products help protect from potential fire hazards by turning off appliances when they are not in use for a period
22. Reacher or grabber – these medical supplies for elderly adults are excellent tools for seniors who have weak grip strength or limited mobility
23. Ramps for entryways with steps – promote accessibility getting in and out of the home for those with limited mobility
24. Sturdy railings along all stairways – provide support while ascending and descending stairs to help prevent falls
25. Mobility aids – canes, walkers, wheelchairs, motorized scooters, and more can help improve mobility and stability in seniors who have difficulty getting around.
This is just a small list of some essential medical supplies to assure safety for elderly adults in the home. Of course, there are many more medical devices for seniors, and you do not need to acquire all the above listed. Choose accordingly and speak to your family and doctor about what may suit your unique medical and daily needs. Life can be managed a bit easier with the right medical supplies and equipment as we age.
Shelley Stepp – Personally Delivered
What are the best home safety tips for seniors?
There are many home safety recommendations for seniors that are affordable and easy to fix that can enable one to stay safe in their homes.
Any home can be made senior-friendly with the right modifications, and seniors deserve to feel independent in the houses they love. When they look in the mirror, they don’t see someone who’s older. They see someone about to go off to war, or a businessman or a homemaker, so we make the modifications to help them live a full and independent life at home.
Look to Install grab bars in the bathroom which can be one of the most dangerous areas of the home, including at the entrance of the doors into the home or at the top of the stairs and anywhere that will benefit the user.
Whether it’s small fixes like moving electric outlets to accessible locations, replacing doorknobs with lever handles, pulling up throw rugs, checking thresholds, which can create a fall hazard for those using a walker or a cane, or making sure there is proper lighting in the main living areas, including stairs and hallways, are just a few ways to make a home safer.
Linda Bohmbach – Home Healthsmith
What is your recommendation for treating an open wound at home while you wait for emergency response?
My recommendation for treating an open wound at home while waiting for emergency response is to first stop the bleeding by gently applying pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Then, clean the wound with clean water and a saline solution, and treat it with antibiotic ointment. Finally, cover the wound with a waterproof bandage or gauze and change the dressing every 24 hours. Home remedies such as turmeric paste and aloe vera can also be used to help promote healing. For severe wounds that involve significant bleeding, broken bones or animal bites, however, you need seek immediate medical attention.
Jeff Morrow – RN Careers
What is the proper way to react when someone is having a cardiac arrest at home?
The first thing we always do is assess. At the moment, you can’t always tell if someone is having a heart attack or if something else is happening. They may clutch their chest and complain of pain before losing consciousness, but they could also just fall to the floor and become unresponsive with little to no warning. Therefore, what we do first depends on a few things. If they are awake and able to speak to you, ensure they’re in a safe place and call 911 and be ready to start CPR if they lose consciousness. The first thing you should say to your 911 operator is your location and that the person with you may be having a heart attack, then provide additional details.
If the individual appears unconscious, first check for a pulse and responsiveness. You can do that by placing two fingers on either side of their trachea (windpipe) and feel for a pulsation, and check responsiveness by tapping them and shouting. If you don’t feel a pulse and they are not responding, we need to start CPR immediately. If someone is with you, one of you can call while the other starts CPR. If you are alone, it would be best to do one round of CPR first to buy yourself some time and then quickly call. If you have a smartphone, you can always put it on speaker and set it right next to you so that you’re not leaving them and can continue CPR.
To perform CPR, make sure they’re on a flat surface. You’ll start by giving 30 chest compressions. Your hands will be placed on top of one another in the center of their chest, with your elbows locked so your arms are straight. Compress down about 2 inches (for adults) and release just enough for the chest to recoil. Please note, the first time you do it, you will feel their ribs cracking under your hands. Unfortunately, this is necessary in an emergency like this. Give 30 chest compressions, then give two rescue breaths.
To give rescue breaths, tilt the head and chin back to open the airway and give two breaths, each lasting approximately 1 second. You should see the chest rise. If you do not, that means the air can’t get down their windpipe. Reposition the head and try again and inspect their mouth for an object that may be blocking it.
Repeat the process of 30 chest compressions with two rescue breaths until medical personnel arrive.
A few tips from someone who has done this many times:
- If there are multiple people in the room, take turns and switch out during rescue breaths, as CPR gets tiresome quickly
- An AED is extremely helpful if available. The sooner one of those can be used, the better. (Although those are often not available in a residential setting)
- Count compressions out loud to keep yourself on track. The appropriate pace for compressions is 100-120 beats per minute. Sing the song “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees in your head to keep pace.
- Minimize interruptions.
Quality CPR literally saves lives! Their heart has stopped beating appropriately, so CPR is essentially beating their heart for them, getting blood to their brain. Consider taking a CPR class in your community. You never know when these skills will become very necessary!
It’s important to remember that you are the most important person in any rescue situation. In order to provide the patient with the highest quality of care, you must first protect yourself. Some key safety precautions for administering CPR include the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and avoiding contact with Clinical Waste.
Whenever possible, it’s always a good idea for the first aid provider to use a breathing barrier, such as a Pocket CPR Mask or Emergency Face Shield. This enables you to deliver a breath without touching the skin of the recipient. Remember, if you’re not trained in CPR or are uncomfortable delivering rescue breaths, then provide hands-only CPR.
Other personal protective equipment, such as latex or nitrile gloves, are also key in avoiding contact with bodily fluids. It’s always recommended to wear waterproof gloves or dressings. In a pinch, even a plastic bag can be used to form a makeshift barrier and prevent cross-contamination.
Finally, always remember to thoroughly wash your hands after giving CPR or apply an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to lower the risk of disease transmission.
John Furst – Firstaidforfree.com
Preventing accidents at home is crucial for the well-being of your family and loved ones. By implementing safety measures, being vigilant and aware of potential hazards and taking steps to mitigate them, you can make your home a safer place and can create a safer environment and prevent accidents from happening. We hope that the information shared in this Q&A session has been helpful in raising your awareness of home safety. Remember, preventing accidents is a continuous process; regularly assess your home for potential hazards and take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents. Keep your home and loved ones safe by being proactive about accident prevention.