It’s not a difficult task to make your home safe for those who have difficulty walking. Whether they’re toddlers, elderly or just a bit clumsy, visitors and residents will appreciate a space that’s safe and easy to navigate.
While everyone is capable of falling, people under 5 and over 70 are at greatest risk—and stairs, bathrooms and kitchens are some of the most frequent location for falls. Among the elderly, accidental falls account for nearly 3 million emergency room visits per year. And, those who are most likely to fall are also most likely to be seriously injured by a fall. This means that fall prevention in the elderly and young child populations is especially important. Injuries from falling can be serious, with injuries ranging from bruises and scrapes to fractures, stitches and even death.
The good news is that falls can be prevented with simple precautionary measures. Apply a critical eye to your home to assess what could be a potential hazard for family members and visitors. Here are 15 fall prevention tips you can use for a safer home today:
A fall on a flat surface can cause serious injury; a fall down the stairs can be devastating. To make stairs safer:
- Make sure stairs are well lit at the top and bottom.
- Use skid-resistant treads or contrasting tape on non-carpeted stairs.
- Make sure carpeting is firmly attached to stairs, and avoid using throw rugs near stairs.
- Install handrails on both sides of the stairs.
- Do not use the stairs to store items.
- If you have small children, install safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
In the bathroom
Between slick, wet surfaces and hard materials like tile and ceramic, a bathroom can create the perfect environment for a nasty fall.
- Use rubber mats or non-slip strips in all tubs and showers, and make sure bath mats have rubber backing.
- Use bath mats with rubber backing.
- Keep the floor free of water and spills.
- Install a nightlight to help with nighttime navigation.
- Install grab bars or handholds around the tub and toilet to provide extra support.
In the kitchen
Kitchens, like bathrooms, are risky because of hard, slippery surfaces. Plus, they’re high traffic areas that can make maneuvering difficult.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Use a sturdy step stool to reach high spots.
- Always use the waist and center restraints in high chairs and infant seats.
- Store children’s snacks in lower locations to prevent climbing.
- Push chairs and stools into the counter and table to prevent tripping.
Finally, proper home insurance coverage can protect you if your efforts to protect guests from falls proves unsuccessful.