Quick Ways to Prevent Falls at Home

Whether you have kids, guests or a habit of tripping, these tips can help you stay upright.

Accidental falls account for nearly 9 million emergency room visits per year. And while some falls result in a sprained wrist or a few stitches, others can be fatal. The good news is that falls can be prevented with simple precautionary measures.

While everyone is capable of falling, people under 5 and over 70 are at greatest risk—and stairs, bathrooms and kitchens are the most frequent location for falls. Apply a critical eye to your home to assess what could be a potential hazard for these members of your family and your visitors. Here are just a few ways to start making your home safer today:

STAIRS More than three-quarters of home falls occur on the stairs—and 80 percent of stair falls occur on stairs with five or fewer steps. 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.
  • Avoid using throw rugs at the top or bottom of the 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.

BATHROOM

  • Use rubber mats or non-slip strips in all tubs and showers.
  • 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.

KITCHEN

  • 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.
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