How to Prevent Accidents

It’s almost impossible in a normal, active life never to have an accident. But every year thousands of people die from accidents around the home-accidents that could easily be avoided.

Nearly one-third of these fatalities are from falls, the greatest number of which involve the elderly. To prevent these tragedies, fall proof an older person’s home. Remove small, loose rugs and low furniture, particularly if they obstruct traffic. Never leave debris on the floor or stairs. Stairs should have solid handrails, and rails may be needed in the bathroom near toilet and tub. Keep all areas well lit.

The second leading cause of accidental death in the home is fire. Instruct the family to leave the house immediately if a fire starts. Call the fire department from a neighbor’s house. Practice alternative escape routes. Precautions with poisons Poisoning is the third largest cause of death in household accidents. Keep drugs in their original containers and throw away leftovers when you have taken the prescribed doses. Never leave medicine by the bedside. It is unexpectedly easy to take a medication while drowsy without realizing it.

Store household cleaners and pesticides in their original containers. Never transfer them to drinking cups or soda bottles. Read and follow their warning labels carefully.

Gases, particularly odorless carbon monoxide, also cause many poisoning deaths. Don’t leave a car motor running in the garage. Be sure there is ample ventilation for indoor fires. Keep space heaters in good repair. Preventing suffocation Thousands of deaths occur each year from suffocation. Choking on food is a major cause. Because this happens without warning, learn to do abdominal thrusts.

Children, especially those under the age of four, are in danger of choking on small objects. Never give a child anything small enough to fit into his or her mouth. Suffocations are often caused by thin plastics, such as dry cleaning bags, and by strangulation with cord and string. Keep them out of children’s reach.