Household Dangers

Daily Health Solutions
March 15, 2012

The top 5 most common household injuries and how to avoid them.

Every day about 245 Americans die of unintentional injuries in their homes and community, reports the National Safety Council (NSC). Treatments for falls, poisonings and burns are common in both rural and urban hospital emergency rooms. However, daily practice of basic safety protocols at home may save you from injury and a trip to the emergency room.

The five most common household injuries include:

Poisonings. The NSC states that poisonings are responsible for more than half of all home-related injury deaths. Keeping medicines and cleaning materials out of the reach of children is just a start. You and your family may be susceptible to poisonings from things you cannot see, such as carbon monoxide. Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector in it, especially if the home has an attached garage. Lead and radon are other deadly poisons that can't be seen.

Falls and slips. The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous homes in the house. Slippery, wet tile can cause you to lose your footing, resulting in a fall and potential injury. Slips and falls in the shower or tub can be dangerous as well. Use a non-slip bathtub mat to prevent a fall. In other areas of the house, avoid using throw rugs unless you secure them with a non-slip backing. Keep stairways free of clutter, and use nightlights to illuminate steps. Always have another person spot you when using a ladder. Use a sturdy, safe stepladder instead of standing on an unstable chair or table to change a lightbulb.

Burns. Scalds are one the most common type of burns in the home. A scalding burn typically happens in the kitchen but also can occur in the bathroom. Sixty percent of all scalding burns happen to children ages 4 and younger. To prevent this type of injury, keep children away from the cooking area, and never leave a child unsupervised in the kitchen where a boiling pot of water can be knocked over. Caution should always be used around fireplaces, outdoor barbecues and even candles. Chemical and electrical burns can occur in the home as well. Tetanus can result from a burn, so make sure everyone has had an updated tetanus shot.

Choking. Young children tend to put everything in their mouths. Small objects such as keys, coins and tiny toys are typical choking hazards. Keep these items and others like them out of the reach of young children. Other choking hazards can include foods such as nuts, popcorn and hard candy. Learning CPR may help to save a loved one’s life if choking occurs.

Drowning. Safety is a must if you own a home pool. Never leave children unattended, not for a moment. Keep the pool area gated and locked when not in use. In the house, drowning can occur in the bathtub if children or the infirm are not attended. Supervision is key to preventing home drownings.