Children, either your own or visiting youngsters, often get into dangerous situations in the home. Older family members are also prone to injury. There are a number of steps you can take to protect them.
Prevention on Stairs
Falls on stairs are a leading cause of injuries in children. A few precautions can reduce the dangers significantly.
+ Use safety gates to keep small children away from stairs. Use only gates that meet current safety standards; older accordion-style gates can trap a child’s arms, legs or head.
+ Balusters should be close together to keep children and pets from falling through or getting their heads stuck. If balusters are more than 10 centimetres (four inches) apart, install a barrier while your kids are young. Be sure the railing is sturdy, and discourage sliding down the banister; a youngster is pretty sure to then try it on his or her own in your absence.
+ Wooden stairs and socks or slippers make a slippery combination. Carpeted stairs are safer, especially if they have no raised metal edges for the child to trip over. Keep stairs and landings free of clutter.
Prevention in the Bathroom
Never leave a baby or young child alone in the tub. A toddler can drown in 2.5 centimetres (one inch) of water. And don’t leave water in an unattended tub. Use this checklist to cut down on other risks.
+ Purchase a soft cover for the bathtub spout to protect kids from painful collisions with the spout.
+ Keep hair dryers and other electrical appliances unplugged, out of reach and away from sinks and bathtubs to prevent burns and electrocution.
+ Use tub mats to prevent slipping. Non-slip strips and appliqués often are too widely spaced to protect children.
+ Adjust water heater temperature down to between 250°C and 275°C (120°F and 130°F) — hot enough for an adult shower, but not so hot that it could scald a child. Make it a habit to turn faucets off tightly so they’re not easy for children to turn on.
+ Keep cologne, makeup, bubble bath and other hazardous products in a closed cabinet, out of reach and sight.
Safety for older family members
+ Older folks have some heightened risks around the house, mostly from falls, which can have devastating effects on their brittle bones. Here are some basic prevention tips.
+ Brighten dark stairways and hallways with better lighting and brighter bulbs, and install secure handrails on one or both sides of stairs.
+ Install non-skid bath mats and grab bars in bathtubs and showers.
+ Put low-voltage night lights in bedrooms, hallways, bathrooms and any other place travelled late at night.
+ Secure rugs firmly with underlay or self-adhesive gripper strips, and remove small throw rugs entirely.
+ Provide a one-step safety stool for reaching out-of-the way shelves and cabinets.
+ Clean and dry floor spills and slippery surfaces in kitchen, bath, laundry and garage before they are walked on.
+ Get into the habit of sitting for a moment before getting out of bed; rising abruptly can cause dizziness. Avoid sitting in low chairs to reduce strains on aging joints and muscles.
+ Wear supportive low-heeled rubber-soled shoes rather than socks or slippers, which have poor traction on stairs and bare floors.