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Developing Household Safety Strategies

Home accidents are a major cause of injury and having a stroke could increase one's risk of accidents. Practical changes to your environment can reduce and, in many cases, eliminate the possibility of an accident. Review the following topics to see if you need to take some action to reduce accidents in your home.

Fire/Electrical Safety

bulb-Have at least one smoke detector on each level of your home
-Change smoke detector batteries yearly and check monthly
-Never overload electrical wiring
-Replace frayed or cracked electric cords
-Use light bulbs with proper size and wattage (If you do not know the correct wattage, use a bulb no larger than 60 watts.)
-Place space heaters away from curtains, rugs, or furniture
-Use electrical appliances away from sources of water
-Thoroughly extinguish matches and cigarettes
-Develop an emergency exit plan and an alternative plan
-Keep at least one fire extinguisher in your home with easy access.

Preventing Burns

-Set temperature on the hot water heater to medium or low (110-120 degrees)
-Never smoke in bed or when drowsy
-When cooking, do not wear loosely fitting flammable clothing

General Safety Guidelines

first aid-Have heating sources adequately ventilated
-Have adequate lighting wherever you work or move around
-Have light switches located at doorways to rooms and at top and bottom of stairs
-Repair or replace unsteady or broken furniture
-Arrange furniture to allow you to move freely around the room. Keep the floors clear of any object
-Wear supportive sensible shoes
-Have strong railings on both sides of stairways
-Keep stairways and hallways free of clutter and well lighted
-Make sure rugs are slip-proof - avoid throw rugs
-Keep electric cords out of walkways
-Have a first aid kit available

Kitchen Alert

-Turn pan handles away from the edge of the stove
-Keep drawers and cupboard doors closed
-Keep counter tops clear
-Keep knives in a special holder instead of loose in a drawer
-Arrange often used utensils so they are within easy reach
-Stock shelves for easy access
-Use extension tongs or a safety stepladder to reach high shelves; never use a chair
-Use kitchen mitt when handling hot objects. Do not use kitchen towels.

Bedroom Alert

-Keep light within easy reach of the bed or use a night light to light the way
-Keep a telephone close to the bed with emergency numbers
-Test your legs for numbness before trying to get up
-If dizzy, wait for dizziness to pass before standing

Bathroom Alert

bath mat-Have hand grips or siderails installed alongside the bathtub, shower, and toilet
-Use non-slip mats or self adhesive strips in the bathtub and shower

Outdoor Alert

-Check that steps and walkways are in good condition
-Check that handrails are sturdy and securely fastened
-Make sure that doorways are well lighted
-Keep steps and sidewalk free from ice, snow, and trash
-Keep a pail of sand or salt handy to steps and walkways in winter
-Keep toxic materials in their own containers, not in unlabeled jars or soft drink bottles

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Make up a "personal home safety phone list" and place it near your telephone. Include telephone numbers for the following and add numbers that you feel would be helpful in time of an emergency. This sheet could be inserted in an 8x10 plastic pocket to increase its durability. Include numbers for the following:

phone-Emergency
-Poison control center
-Doctor
-Police
-Pharmacy
-Dentist
-Fire department
-Rescue squad
-Gas company
-Relative/friend/neighbor

Home safety is no accident. It is the result of being prepared, thinking ahead, and making some small change in the home environment. Safeguard your home today.


Additional Information:

The following are some web sites to provide you with more information about household safety:

Safety and Injury Prevention: Household Safety

Room by Room Safety Tips

Safety Tips for Seniors

How to Prevent Poisonings in Your Home

Additional Household Safety Web sites:

Household Safety Checklists

First aid: Household Safety Checklist


References:

Hoeman, S.P. (2007). Rehabilitation nursing: Prevention, intervention & outcomes (4th ed.). St Louis,
MO: Mosby.

Home Safety Council. (2011). Safety guide: Top ten tips list. Retrieved from
http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=
Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22June+Healthy+Lifestyle+Newsletter.pdf
%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=
MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251724390451&ssbinary=true

Stein, J. (2009). Stroke recovery and rehabilitation. New York, NY: Demos Medical Publishing.

Stroke facts: Recovery after stroke: Managing life at home. (2009). Retrieved from www.stroke.org

Developed in 2002 by Barbara Hicks, MSN, RNC at the University of Toledo for the Caring~Web©

Revised 2010, 2012


Last Updated: 6/17/14