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5 Things You Can Do To Prevent Accidents in Your Home

Take care that your dreams of home and hearth don't go up in flames. See more hidden home dangers pictures.
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We often think of our homes as our safe havens, but that's not always the case. Hundreds of thousands of accidents in and around the home occur in the United States each year, with close to half of all injuries and deaths happening right under someone's roof. There's no need to wear a helmet around the house all day, but here are some practical things you can do to help prevent accidents in your home.

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Falls are a common household injury, especially with children and the elderly. Keep the windows on the top floor of your house closed, and make sure all of your step handrails are sturdy and in good shape. Bathroom and kitchen floors are common areas for wet spots and potential slips. Make sure you keep them as dry as possible, cleaning up any spills right after they happen. And always use a bath mat to soak up excess water.

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Keep out of reach of your children and pets.
Keep out of reach of your children and pets.
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Accidentally ingesting a harmful, poisonous substance is a lot easier than you may think. Medication bottles look a lot alike, so clearly mark everything and keep it all out of reach of your children. If you're on several medications, you may want to get a weekly pill box to keep it all organized. Also, make sure that your child doesn't have access to any harmful solvents or cleaners -- the area under your kitchen sink is a veritable collection of deadly liquids. Teach your kids, too, what a skull and crossbones on a container means, and keep the poison control center number handy at all times.

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While he's just trying to help by cleaning up, this has disaster written all over it.
While he's just trying to help by cleaning up, this has disaster written all over it.
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As a grown-up, there are plenty of dangerous tools you may use on a daily basis: kitchen knives, power tools, screwdrivers, box cutters. It's easy for a distracted adult to take off the tip of a finger while cutting an onion, or slice a hand trying to open that impossible shrink-wrapped packaging. Practice common sense safety techniques you learned as a child. Never cut something toward you, always point away. Don't carry a sharp item facing you, and just like mom says, never run with scissors. Even though you may be busy and on the run, slow down and pay attention when using a sharp object.

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Keep outlets covered so those little hands stay safe.
Keep outlets covered so those little hands stay safe.
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Childproofing a home is mandatory when you have kids, but it's not a bad idea to put some of those electricity practices in place in every home. Never overload an outlet with too many appliances, and always be careful when plugging anything in. A small shock while you're standing on a ladder can be an ugly accident. Don't leave appliance cords in places where you can trip on them, and always unplug your bathroom appliances after you use them. If you ever spot any exposed wires on an appliance or cord, get it checked out by an electrician.

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Don't leave kids -- or pets -- unattended around water.
Don't leave kids -- or pets -- unattended around water.
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Drowning is a real threat to children, and you don't even need a swimming pool to be at risk. Sadly, children drown every year in no more than a few inches of water. You can help to prevent this kind of tragedy by installing locks on your toilet bowl lids or restricting access to the bathroom altogether. If you do have a pool, your kids should not be able to access it without you. And, they should always be closely watched when they're in the pool area -- accidents can happen in seconds. Have the same policy in place for your bathtub, and get trained in CPR in case an accident does happen.

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Sources

  • "Accident Statistics." lpch.org, 2010. http://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/HealthLibrary/poison/stats.html
  • "Childproofing and Preventing Household Accidents." kidshealth.org, 2010. http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/childproof.html
  • "Summary from Injury Facts." nsc.org, 2010. http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/injury_and_death_statistics/Documents/Summary_2010_Ed.pdf
  • "The most common home accidents and how to prevent them." essormtent.com, 2010. http://www.essortment.com/home/homeaccidentsi_sujs.htm
  • "The Water in You." U.S. Geological Survey, 2010. http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html
  • Vandenberge, Greg. "Seven Home Safety Tips - Home Accident Prevention." ezinearticles.com, 2010. http://ezinearticles.com/?Seven-Home-Safety-Tips---Home-Accident-Prevention&id=3429565

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