There are around 4,000 deaths due to accidents at home every year – you’re more likely to have an accident at home than anywhere else. This is not because the home is a particularly dangerous place. The odds are higher simply because people tend to spend more time at home than they do anywhere else.
Recent research has also shown that accidents at home are more likely to occur on a Monday morning than at any other time of the week. This is because people are recovering from disturbed sleep patterns over the weekend or from hangovers due to drinking. As a result they are less well co-ordinated and, therefore, more prone to accidents on a Monday morning.
Making the home a safe place
To avoid accidents at home and to look after your family, it’s important to take all reasonable measures to make your home a safe place to live. Here are the top 10 tips for making your home accident free.
1. Clear up spills
Any floor spillages should be cleared up straight away to prevent slipping. If the floor is wet or damp, for example after cleaning, make sure people in the house are aware of this.
2. Bath safety
Don’t be fooled into thinking your child is safe just because the bath is shallow. Small children can drown in as little as an inch of water so they need to be watched at all times. When running a bath, start with cold water. This reduces the risk of a child jumping in early and becoming scalded.
3. Keep stairs clear
Many people injure themselves in accidents at home as a result of tripping on the stairs. To reduce this risk, keep the stairs clear of objects and repair any unfixed carpet straight away. The same rules apply to hallways.
4. Changing light bulbs
When changing a light bulb on the ceiling, use a stable step-stool or step-ladder – it is easy to become unbalanced while doing this job and an unstable chair or stool could lead to disaster.
5. Smoke alarms
According to statistics from Directgov, you are more than twice as likely to perish in a fire at home if you don’t have a working smoke alarm. These should be checked monthly to make sure they are still in working order. Make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire.
Using the back rings or hobs on the cooker first and point the handles backwards. This can prevent accidents with small children, as they won’t be able to reach pot handles and scald themselves.
7. Chemical products
Medicines, bleach and any household product with potentially dangerous chemicals must be kept out of the reach of children at all times, ideally in secure, high-level cupboards.
8. Heating hazards
Have gas, oil and solid fuel heaters serviced yearly. This will reduce the risk of fires and of carbon monoxide poisoning. Heaters, fires and candles should never be placed near to furniture, curtains or clothes.
Cracked plugs and worn cables must be replaced as they can cause shocks and electrical fires. The same goes for overloaded sockets. If there are children present, cover low sockets with socket guards. Don’t keep electrical appliances in the bathroom and always dry you hands before handling electrical items.
Windows in high-rise buildings can be dangerous. Make sure furniture is a safe distance away and use restrictor catches on any upstairs windows if children are around.