Most of us think of home as one of the safest places we can be, tucked away with our families, protected from all the dangers of the world. However, statistics reveal something dramatically different and alarming. Over 20,000 deaths are related to at home injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 4 out of 5 fire deaths happen at home. Young children are at an increased risk of scalding burns (from hot liquid or steam) whereas older children incur injuries resulting from open flames. Other dangers, such as poisoning, are responsible for hundreds of emergency room visits on a daily basis.
How has the one place we should feel safe turned into a threat to our families’ health and safety? No one plans for an unintentional injury to happen. An unintentional injury occurs in and around the home and may include burns, falls, drowning, poisonings, animal bites and choking. Yet, with a few simple steps, you can save your family from traumatic injuries with preparation and prevention.
Here are four quick checks that can save your family a trip to the ER, while also saving a life:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Program a reminder or make sure to check batteries twice a year. Daylight savings times are a great time to check. Or perhaps in the summer and winter months. Make sure detectors are operational. Place these detectors in key locations – near natural gas sources (furnace, kitchen) and in bedrooms (to protect you while you sleep).
- Think like a child. Sometimes to ensure your home is childproofed it requires you to do a bit of detective work. Get down on the level of your crawling baby or toddler and see what might be tempting. Cords attached to heavy items, electrical outlets, and other hazards should be eliminated. Dressers, cabinets and bookcases that could potentially tip should be securely anchored to the wall with a dry wall anchor system. Remember that a great way to prevent access to danger zones in the home (like the bathroom) is to simply keep those doors shut (yes, toilets can be a potential drowning hazard for your top heavy toddler).
- Stop falls before they start. Try to identify the fall hazards in your home. Carpets, stairs and other issues should be considered. Safety gates can help keep little ones safe until they learn to manage the stairs safely. Always supervise and assist during bath time so that a child's risk of slipping is decreased when entering and exiting the tub.
- Out of reach equals peace of mind. While educating your children about dangerous chemicals is helpful, actually moving these items to an inaccessible location adds another important layer of protection. Ideas of items to keep out of reach include: cleaning solutions, chemicals, medicines, matches and lighters.
While we are available 24 hours a day to provide top-notch emergency care at Lawnwood Medical Center, we would prefer to save you the trip, as well as the trauma. Make your home the safe haven it should be; for you and your family.
If you are headed to the ER at Lawnwood, you can text 23000 or visit our website homepage to get the average wait time at Lawnwood. For more health information or a physician referral, call our Consult-A-Nurse service at 1-800-446-6956. To learn more about the emergency care services at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center visit us online.