Accidents in the home are very common—just think back to a time you injured yourself while showering, or listened to a neighbor talk about their close call with a kitchen. To reduce the likelihood of household accidents from reoccurring, take these seven safety tips into consideration.
1. Fireproof your home
It’s probably happened to everyone at one point: you take a phone call and forget that you’re heating oil in a pan for that fish recipe, or you forget to turn the flame off your stove burner after you’ve removed a pot. Accidents like this can trigger fires, which is why it’s imperative to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers throughout your home. After all, the National Fire Protection Association estimates that in 2014 alone, a home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds. Putting the aforementioned safety measures in place can help your home from becoming a cautionary statistic.
2. Curl fingers when chopping foods
When you think about all the sharp kitchen utensils you use on a regular basis, it’s unsurprising that many accidents occur while preparing food. I admit to having cut the tip of my finger while grating cheese and also to coming dangerously close to needing stitches while halving an uncooked sweet potato. I learned my lesson and have since taken a cue from what I see on many cooking shows: I now cut with the tips of my fingers curled inwards towards my palm, which keeps fingertips in shape. Good-bye cuts, nicks, and adhesive bandages! Tuck in your fingers, go slow, and always be sure to use the right cutting tool for the item you’re chopping (yes, even dull knives can create problems).
3. Toss your rugs
Sure, they’re pretty and can make an otherwise bare floor appear cozier, but statistics have shown that rugs tend to bunch up easily, causing people to trip and fall. Falling, as it turns out, is the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in people aged 25-54. Although you may think that all that padding will help cushion you if you do fall, just the opposite is true. Rugs are more apt to cause falls than protect against them. Forego area rugs entirely and, if you must, choose larger rugs that are less likely to shift and gather in the corners.
4. Use appropriate footwear
It’s easy to slip on your socks and move about your house feeling all comfy, but the reality is that hardwood floors and carpeted stairs don’t pair well with socks. Once again, I know this from experience! I was on a roll one day getting my home super clean and organized and thought nothing of carrying the hamper downstairs in my socks. You know where this is going—about six steps from the bottom, I slipped, falling hard on my rear end and whacking my lower back against each step as it acted like a very bumpy, painful slide that took me to ground level. Fortunately, I didn’t seriously injure myself, although my back was sore for a few weeks.
Always wear appropriate footwear around your home to improve traction and reduce the risk of falls. Ditch non-supportive flip-flops, stockings, and socks, and turn to footwear that grips surfaces and supports your ankles.
5. Reach with caution
While it may be a pain to go to an outdoor shed or another room to get a stepstool or ladder, there’s a reason they exist. Plain and simple, they help you get the job done safely, thanks to their having a structure that takes balance and weight into consideration. Swiveling computer chairs or stepping onto a cluttered kitchen table puts you one step closer to losing your balance and falling. Always opt for stepstools or other more supportive devices when reaching for something, instead of risking a chair falling out from under you.
6. Use bath mats
Although you may have a home that has built-in handles in areas around the bathtub wall, these aren’t sufficient to prevent you from slipping while showering. A fall can happen in a heartbeat, hardly giving you enough time to react and grab a handle. The best bet is to always use a bath mat. It acts as a protective buffer between your bare feet and the slippery tub bottom, so your odds of falling in the shower are drastically reduced. Accept the so-called hassle of having to pull it up each time to air out the bottom, and instead focus on how it can do wonders for your safety.
7. Keep a Clean House
Finally, it’s common for homes to get messy from time to time, with plenty of newspapers, children’s toys, and shoes strewn about. However, too much of a mess on a regular basis can lead to accidents. From slipping on a bunch of coloring books to a stack of newspapers that could catch fire as they rest too close to a space heater or fireplace, the risk of accidents from a cluttered home are endless. Do your best to keep rooms as tidy as possible; every little bit helps.