Take a good look around your home. Is it as safe as it could be? Not only do you want to ensure that your family is kept out of harm’s way, but you want your home and property to be safe for your guests as well. While chances are slim that someone in your family will sue you for compensation for an injury sustained in your house, a guest very well might. There is no time like the present to make sure that your home is free of hazards to your family and guests.
Each year, more than 18,000 people in the United States die due to injuries sustained in the home. The unfortunate thing is that most of these deaths are completely preventable. Home accidents are the reason that more than 21 million Americans seek medical attention each year. The most common issues that lead to injuries inside and around the home are:
- Slips and falls
- Water heaters set at too-high temperatures
- Improperly stored firearms
- Inadequate railings and banisters
Falls and Home Injury Deaths
Falls are the number one cause of deaths that occur in the home. Close to 6,000 people lose their lives each year after falling at home. This is especially common among our aging population. More than 600,000 people were seen in hospitals due to at-home falls in 2010. The older we get, the more likely we are to have to be hospitalized due to injuries sustained in these falls. People over 75 are four to five times as likely as other age groups to be confined to a hospital or care facility after falling at home.
Preventing falls in the home is not difficult. One of the first things to do is to clear the clutter. Don’t be tempted to put things on the floor or let them pile up. Get rid of loose rugs or put tape under them. Make sure that railings and banisters are in proper order, and add more lighting to hallways and staircases. If you have hard flooring, encourage guests to wear their shoes in your home rather than walking around in socks. This can help to prevent slipping on slick surfaces.
Poisoning is more likely to cause injuries to children than adults. It can also be a dangerous hazard for any pets in the home. Cleaning products should not only be stored in cupboards, but in high cupboards or low ones that are locked. Food containers should not be used to store toxic materials, and all storage containers should be labeled. Do not mix household cleaning products together unless doing so has been proven to be safe, and always supervise children in the kitchen.
Poisoning can happen quickly. Keep the number for the poison control center in plain view. You can also store the number in your cell phone for easy access.
Small children can choke or suffocate on the smallest objects. Anything that can fit in a child’s mouth should be kept in a safe place. Ropes, cords and strings should be out of the reach of children, as should plastic bags. Keep an eye on your little ones — and adults — during meal times. Talking and chewing, let alone moving and chewing, can be a recipe for disaster. If you don’t already know it, learn the Heimlich maneuver so that you can come to the aid of a person choking in your home.
Drowning can occur in the bathtub as easily as in the pool. If you have a pool, it should be surrounded by a fence with a locking gate. Do not let children play near the pool on their own, and always stay in the bathroom with a small child who is bathing. Keep toilet lids closed, and clear any standing water from your lawn.
Medications and Other Substances
Medications can be enticing to children. Many medications can easily be confused for candy, thanks to their bright colors. All medications should be kept away and out of reach of children. Teach your children that they are not to touch medication bottles, either prescription or over-the-counter. Also enticing to children are fruit- or candy-flavored nicotine liquids for electronic cigarette devices. Be sure to keep these far out of their reach, as they can be deadly to children.
Hazards in the home are easily overlooked. As an adult, you know not to take medication that isn’t yours, you understand not to run around a pool, and you know not to put plastic bags over your head. Don’t assume that your children know the same or that your guests will behave as expected. Clear the clutter today to prevent yourself from having to pay up in court later.
If you are injured due to a slip and fall or other accident in West Palm Beach, the team at Steinger, Greene & Feiner is here for you. Call us today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of any compensation you may be entitled to. Let us help you move forward with your life.