According to the National Safety Council, falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injury in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million trips to the emergency room each year. The risk of falling rises with age, but anyone can be a victim of an accident caused by slipping or tripping. To protect yourself and your loved ones from harm, keep these tips in mind.
1. Keep highly trafficked walkways free from obstacles
Whether it's a child's toys or a pile of laundry, clutter in hallways and stairwells can lead to falls. Be sure to keep these areas free of clutter, and be sure to keep objects away from stairwells, where a fall could do a significant amount of damage.
2. Secure wires and cables
Electrical wires and phone cords can cause accidents if they aren't fastened down or kept out of the way. Coast River Business Journal recommends that homeowners keep cables coiled up at all times, and stored next to a wall or another area that is out of the way. If a cable must extend across a walkway, use tape to fasten it securely to the ground.
3. Never stand on any surface with wheels
It may not seem like a big deal to hop up on a chair with wheels to grab something on a high shelf, but the National Safety Council warns that this is never a good idea. If you need something that's out of reach, use a ladder or stepstool with a solid base, as this eliminates the possibility that your support will fly out from under you when you don't expect it.
4. Clean up spills immediately
The presence of water and other substances can make food preparation areas and bathrooms particularly dangerous. Be sure to clean up spills as soon as they happen, and consider placing moisture-absorbing mats at the entrances to those areas. For especially slippery flooring that may get wet, try using adhesive striping material or anti-skid paint to create a more easy-to-grip surface.
5. Make sure that walkways are well-lit
Poor lighting is a contributing factor in many slips and falls. Be sure to replace all light bulbs, switches and cables that aren't working, and keep the areas surrounding light switches unobstructed. If your home does have a poorly-lit area, take extra care to keep that area free from clutter. You should also keep a lamp in an area next to the bed that is easily accessible so that you aren't walking through the dark if you get up during the night.