The home can be particularly dangerous for young children and seniors. Therefore, people should be attentive to the home safety needs of those in these age groups and take the necessary precautions.
Safety Tips for Babies and Toddlers
There are potential hazards for children all over the home. Parents and caregivers must check every room for possible dangers and childproof the home.
First, supervision is a must for babies and toddlers. Babies should never be left alone in the bath or with a feeding bottle. Also, they should be kept away from small objects that are choking hazards — beads, buttons, toys, sweets, etc.
Laura A. Saucer, program director of Nursing at South University — Montgomery, offers a few more tips for caring for babies:
- Make sure the crib meets new safety standards
- Make sure the crib is located away from windows
- Never leave a child unattended on a changing table, bed, or sofa
- Make sure to use safety straps when infants are in strollers, swings, and car seats
As babies become toddlers, more dangers present themselves. The TotSafe website offers a handy childproofing checklist for babies and toddlers.
The checklist includes home safety tips involving the following hazards and more:
- Medicines, cleaning products, and cosmetics
- Balconies, lofts, landings, and banisters
Among the safety tips, the website advises securing stairways with child safety gates and using childproofing window guards. The site also recommends using cushions on sharp furniture edges and using electrical outlet covers or sliding outlet plates to create a barrier between children and electrical currents.
Safety Tips for the Elderly
Older people are susceptible to potentially fatal falls and there are many hazards that can be found in the home.
Dottie Roberts, a Nursing instructor at South University — Columbia, says falls often result in fractures.
“Many older adults have poor bone quality and may even have been diagnosed with osteoporosis,” she says. “They are much more likely to experience injury if they fall.”
In addition, those taking anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin) are at risk of internal bleeding if they receive a blow to the head when they fall. Older people who live alone and fall may experience a long “lie time” before they are found, and the extended time in one position can contribute to the development of pressure ulcers, Roberts says.
Older people can benefit from a safety check of their homes to eliminate environmental hazards.
“This service often is performed by home health nurses or physical therapists, but anyone can check for hazards,” she says. “For example, small throw rugs should be removed because they can slip or shift under foot and contribute to a fall.”
Narrow, poorly lighted stairs — especially those without adequate handrails — also can be problematic, Roberts says. Stairs should be kept free of objects and handrails should be installed and securely fastened.
Bathrooms should also get a safety check. Non-skid liners can prevent accidents in slippery bathtubs and grab bars can be placed near toilets to help people gently lower themselves into place.
More home safety tips for seniors can be found on the Working Caregiver website, which provides a checklist for possible safety problems.
Author: Darice Britt