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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!

Safety First

submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the June 8, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Have you tripped over or slipped on a rug in your home or someone else's? Have you fallen going up or down steps or just walking on a flat surface? The National Safety Council (NSC) reported falls, regardless of the person's age, happen in the home. More than 10,000 people, age 65 and older, die every year as a result of falls. June is National Safety Month. Safety in the home is important all year long but during this week (June 8-14) special emphasis is put on Home and Community Safety. Since falls can happen at any age taking precautions in the home can prevent injury and death.

The NSC suggests the following tips to prevent slips and falls in the home:

  • Keep the floor clean. Reduce clutter and safely tuck telephone and electrical cords out of walkways.
  • Keep the floor clean. Clean up grease, water and other liquids immediately. Don't wax floors. Use non-skid throw rugs to reduce your chance of slipping on linoleum, wood or ceramic tile floors. Secure other rugs with a rubber pad, a piece of foam carpet backing or double-sided tape.
  • Install handrails in stairway. Have grab bars in the bathroom (by toilets and in tub/shower).
  • Make sure living areas are well lit. We can all trip and fall in the dark.
  • Be aware climbing and reaching high places will increase your change of a fall. Use a sturdy step stool with hand rails when these tasks are necessary.
  • Fill holes and depressions around your property.
  • Replace old light bulbs. But always use the appropriate wattage listed.
  • Keep stairs clear. Use safety gates if there are infants and toddlers in your home or that come to visit.
  • Children should not play alone on fire escapes, high porches, balconies or decks.
  • Use a rubber mat or slip resistant stickers in the tub.

Remember all age groups are vulnerable but older adults are most at risk for falls. Take time to check your home and those of elderly relatives, friends or neighbors to help make each home a safer place for everyone.

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