Prevent Falls in the Home

Edited by Jonathan, Robbi, Lynn, Graeme

Falls in the home by any member of the household can be scary. Fortunately, they can be prevented or minimized by instituting a number of safety precautions and modifications in the house. In the case of the elderly, keeping physically fit is a big plus for them in preventing falls. It does help that the internal design and traffic flow inside and outside the house are carefully planned. The extreme ages, meaning the babies and the elderly, are the most prone to domestic accidents such as falls. Read on.

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Prevention tips against household falls

  1. 1
    Although we like to think of our house as our sanctuary of comfort, the fact is 18,000 people died from home injuries in the USA in the past year. Deaths from home falls, which is the leading home injury, claimed 6,000 lives. The fact is, the home is the second most likely location (in first place is cars) that injuries will occur.
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  2. 2
    A Cochrane Library review concluded that multiple group exercises for senior folks, with special mention for Tai Chi, significantly reduced the rate of falls in the household for senior folks. Improved blood circulation and flexibility of their bodies could be attributed to regular regimen of Tai Chi exercises in the local park.
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  3. 3
    Usually a hip fracture is the result of a sideways fall. Hip protectors consisting of plastic shields or foam pads fitted with specially designed underwear have been introduced and designed for senior citizens to reduce the rate of hip injuries. But poor design and comfort have LED to low acceptance in the elderly community. If they were ever even purchased, many of the old folks find excuses not to wear them. Nevertheless, this safety product is promising and needs more research to be senior-friendly.
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  4. 4
    On top of stairs, put little gates with latches if you have little kids in the house.
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  5. 5
    Cribs should be as tall as the hair of the toddler who is trying to walk or already knows how to walk. If the crib's height is just about the height of his chest, do not be surprised if he comes tumbling down to the floor because he will attempt to climb over it.
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  6. 6
    Have non-skid surfaces on pathways outside of the house. You should definitely not have tiles or marble surfaces constructed on the pathways outside of the house, especially those areas prone to rain or snow or anything wet. Non-skid surfaces referred to here should be of the rubberized type, wherein footwear that does not even have any traction, and will not slip. Not even bare feet will slide. Aside from rubberized material, anything that is rough is good. If your outdoor surfaces are cement, it should be not smoothed out. Designs which encourage roughness and shallow potholes are encouraged for pathways.
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  7. 7
    Baths should have handles so that the elderly can hold on to them for dear life in case of falls due to the slippery tile floor. But these handles could be the seniors' Waterloo because they might have a hard bump on the steel handles too if they are not careful. These handles should be covered tight with rubberized material for better cushion in case of bumps.
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  8. 8
    Rubberized materials and anything with a cushion are the best friends of safety and the worst enemies of falls in the household. Aside from the home accidents already mentioned, there are a number of other accidents in the home (some may not even come to mind) which are sure to benefit from a rubberized and cushion-friendly home. Whenever possible, put cushions and rubber protected items within and outside of the house to prevent accidents. The possibilities are endless!
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  9. 9
    Pointed and sharp objects (enemies of safety) are also the evil allies of household falls and injuries. Have you ever heard of real horror stories of people in the house who were holding a knife or an ice pick or a pair of scissors who were running and then all of a sudden, tripped or stumbled, then the sharp device they are holding just plunged into their neck or stomach? You would not want this to happen. It would just be so traumatic.
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  10. 10
    When going up ladders or standing on chairs to do a chore which requires height, always have somebody with you strong enough to catch you in case of a nasty fall. Also make sure the ladder has tightened bolts on the connections and the steps on the ladder are well fastened. If it is made of wood, make sure the nails are not jutting out.
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  11. 11
    Stairs should always have side rails. We have seen houses with no side rails for stairs. This is absolutely foolish because one imbalanced move on the stairs or some pushing and shoving on the part of the kids on the stairs, will render a person susceptible to fall because of the absence of the side rails.
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  12. 12
    Upper floor porches and roof decks should have, aside from rails, extension space between the rails and below. There should preferably be a 2-foot extension space, at least, for safety against falls to down below.
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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Safety

Recent edits by: Lynn, Robbi, Jonathan

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