If you are very cautious while walking inside your home, you might not slip on the banana peel that is lying next to the kitchen waste basket; however, the same cannot be said about your elderly parents or your children. You never know, but your children or your parents can just fall flat on the throw rug that you have placed next to the sink in the kitchen. There are many things in the home that can be potentially dangerous for your children and the elderly parents.
Fall arrest equipment will probably not be used inside of a home, but there are a lot of easy steps one can take to help make your home as fall proof as possible. Falls are one of the top debilitating injuries that the elderly suffer from.
What Can You Do To Make Your Home Safe?
To make your home safe and as fall proof as possible, especially for your kids and parents, you need to go for an in depth home assessment . There are certain improvements that can be made to your home to ensure the safety of family members, especially the elderly and the people with any kind of disability. Any time there is an elevation change in the floor, there is an increase risk of a fall. Make sure to also have proper lighting where ever stairs are located. This may include a 3-way switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.
For The Children
Children's fall safety is complete another subject. Children will fall. This is the only way they learn how to walk. Some of the main issues for their fall protection in the home include:
- falling down stairs, use stair gates
- falling on sharp objects or sharp edges, keep sharp objects away from children and cover or keep sharp edges out of reach from children
- children especially try to climb the balcony guard rails, use gates or make sure they are always supervised. The same goes for access to pools or water.
- prevent children from opening and climbing out windows, use window or vent locks so the windows remain closed or can only be opened a few inches with a vent lock
- there are too many other possible fall hazards to list here, but common sense goes a long ways.
For Your Kitchen
If you can arrange it, install a for a convenient shelf on the wall so it's within easy reach. Here you can keep your heavy duty utensils along with casserole dishes and larger plates. This will help avoid the elderly from over reaching for heavy items. If there is tile or hardwood floors in the kitchen, consider placing rubber under mats under rugs to prevent them from kicking out.
For Your Bathroom
Install a fold down seat inside the shower. Use an adjustable shower head on top of the hose and an anti scald equipment so as to ensure that the water flowing down is never too hot while someone is showering. Also, make sure to install easily reachable hand rails in any shower or bathtub area. Once again use a rubber under rug underneath floor rugs to prevent slippage.
For Your Stairs
Make sure that all stairs have hand rails that are sturdy and will support the weight of a heavier person. For the elderly it may also be helpful to add a non-slip tape to the front edge of the steps is possible. Non slip tape can be purchased in rolls and come in widths from 1”, 2” or 3”. To avoid steps or to make a home handicap accessible wheelchair ramps may need to be added. Outside or in basements, any crack or concrete elevation above ½ inch or move should be painted with a bright yellow hazard paint or ground down to avoid becoming a hazard.
Once again, all falls cannot be prevented, for example, if someone passes out; however, these safety tips can go along way to help prevent as many falls as possible. If someone ever ventures up onto a roof or a platform more that 6 feet off the ground, fall arrest equipment needs to be used. This includes an anchor point, a fall arrest harness, and a connecting fall arrest lanyard.