Home Safety – Our Homes and Gardens are Potential Danger Zones, Especially for the
Young and the Elderly.
Home safety is largely under your control. Everyone should feel safe and secure in their own home, but unfortunately this is often not the case
Is your home safe? Remember what is safe for you may not be safe for others, especially young children and the elderly or infirm.
Home safety affects us all, just study the following statistics.
In the UK:
Every year there are around 2.8 million home accidents where victims visit an Accident and Emergency Department for treatment – around one million are children under 15 years old, with over half of them under five years old. On top of this a similar number visit their GP for treatment. Millions more minor cases are treated at home.
There are around 4,000 deaths every year due to accidents in the home, MORE THAN ON THE ROADS. Around 1,500 over 65’s die from falls in the home. Over 300,000 pensioners are so seriously injured by a home fall that they require hospital treatment.
Each year around 11 children are killed as a result of drowning in the garden, with 80% of them occurring in neighbours, friends or relatives gardens. The most at risk are one and two year olds, with 78% of drowning incidents involving boys.
In the USA:
There are around 21 million medical visits due to accidents in the home and around 20,000 deaths.
In 2002 there were 389,000 reported home fires resulting in 2,670 deaths and 13,650 injuries. Smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths, with cooking being the leading cause of home fires and home injuries.
In both countries the most common causes of injuries are falls, poisoning, fires, choking and drowning.
Your home safety is under your control.
- The biggest single cause of accidents is human error
- With a little forethought most accidents can be prevented
- More people are injured in their own homes than anywhere else
- The kitchen, living/dining room, bedrooms and bathrooms are all potentially very dangerous places
- Fire is one of the most serious hazards in any home. It is fast spreading, lethal and devastating, yet very often preventable
- Most deaths due to fire are caused by smoke inhalation, not the fire itself
- Many accidents occur in the home from everyday activities such as: children playing, preparing food, simply moving about the house, carrying out DIY and other household repairs
- Accidents involving children often occur in the presence of an adult
There are three main categories of accidents, which account for approximately 67% of all home accidents:
1. Impact accidents
2. Heat accidents
3. Through mouth accidents
Carry out a home safety survey of your home and that of any elderly relatives as soon as possible, so that all safety hazards and potential areas of danger can be reviewed and eliminated wherever feasible. The home safety survey should take into account the age and physical capabilities of the occupants and normal visitors to the home and garden.
Walk through your home and garden and put yourself in the position of a small child exploring (ideally you should crawl round, putting yourself at the childs level) and also as an elderly person with restricted mobility and identify:
- Potential tripping, slipping, colliding or falling hazards
- Fire hazards
- Scalding/burning hazards
- Electric shock hazards
- Stair hazards
- Drowning hazards
- Poisoning/medication hazards
- Poor lighting hazards
- Chemical hazards
- Cutting hazards
- Choking hazards
- Suffocating hazards
- Upper window hazards
- Access hazards
- Carbon Monoxide hazards
- A fire safety plan – how to evacuate the building
- Correctly positioned and working smoke detectors
- Correctly positioned and working Carbon Monoxide detector
- Locked cabinets for all dangerous chemicals, poisons and medications
- Locked cabinets for any firearms
- Recent safety check and service of heating appliances
- Window locks – key easily accessible in an emergency
- List of emergency numbers by each phone
- Emergency alarms for the elderly.
- Door chains, viewers or stoppers to restrict unwanted access
Home safety should not be left to chance, especially where the young or elderly are concerned.