Falling is the No. 1 cause of death among adults 65 and older, according to the Patient Safety Authority. And it’s responsible for one-third of all injuries, Consumer Notice reports. While slips, trips and falls are common in homes and in the workplace, most of these incidents are preventable with proper safety measures and regular housekeeping.
Here are some examples of fall hazards in the home and how to prevent them.
Lay nonskid mats in kitchens and bathrooms
Tile flooring is popular in kitchens and bathrooms, but it can be dangerous when wet. Spilled water, oil, grease, or dropped foods can create slippery conditions. Installing nonskid bath and kitchen mats is an easy way to create traction.
Install grab bars in bathtubs
Falls often happen while getting in or out of a tub. Bathtub falls are common among all age groups, but especially young children and aging adults. People can sustain head injuries, concussions and bone fractures from bathroom falls. In addition to nonskid mats, grab bars can help you maintain your footing in a slippery tub.
Secure area rugs
Unsecured area rugs are dangerous. Someone can slip on a rug that isn’t secured to the floor. Use slip-resistant padding or tape to keep the rug in place and prevent the edging from coming up.
Cluttered stairs, loose treads and not using a handrail are all common causes of falling. Keep stairs free of shoes, children’s toys, laundry, and other objects. If you are holding something while climbing or descending stairs, make sure you can see your path and that you can easily handle the size and shape of the load. If you can’t, lighten your load or ask for help.
Watch out for kids and pets
Cats and small dogs can get underfoot and may be difficult to see when you’re moving about the house. Babies and toddlers may also like to follow close on your heels. A quick turn or change in direction can cause you to trip on your pet or child. Always be aware of others who may be in the room and install baby gates to block off dangerous areas.
Use a ladder to access hard-to-reach places
If you need to use a ladder, ensure the base is on level ground. Do not lean your body beyond the side rails or stand on the top step. If you cannot access something safely, reposition the ladder or find a taller one. Never use a rolling chair or stool in place of a ladder.
Organize storage spaces
Basements, garages, attics and even walk-in closets can harbor trip-and-fall hazards. Keep these spaces well-lit, organized and free of extension cords, ornaments and other objects.
You might think of falls as a hazard for older adults, but they are common among all age groups. Taking a few simple measures like reducing clutter and securing rugs can go a long way toward limiting your risk of injury.
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