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Susan Pruden
CENTURY 21 New Millennium

How to Prevent Slip-and-Fall Accidents at Home

Slip-and-fall accidents are common and can cause injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises to broken bones, head trauma and even death. Most accidents occur at home. Although senior citizens have a heightened risk, any person of any age can experience a slip-and-fall accident in a fraction of a second.

Eliminate Tripping Hazards
Go through your house and look for things that could cause someone to trip, such as throw rugs, furniture arranged too close together and electrical cords. If any floorboards are loose or uneven, have them repaired. If you have young children, pick up their toys and teach them to clean up after themselves when they’re old enough.

Prevent Falls Caused by Water
On a rainy day, leave wet shoes, umbrellas and raincoats in the entryway or on the porch. Wipe up the floor or put down mats or towels to keep it dry. Use non-slip mats in areas where the floor may get wet, such as the kitchen and bathrooms. If anything is spilled on the floor, clean it up immediately.

Make Sure There’s Plenty of Light
Many slip-and-fall accidents occur because someone can’t see a step or an object on the floor or ground. Keep the house and yard well lit. Use bright lightbulbs, especially near stairs. If staircases don’t have light switches at the top and bottom, contact an electrician to have additional switches installed. Nightlights in bedrooms and hallways can make nighttime trips to the bathroom safer. Outdoor lights can help people see puddles, ice and other hazards that could cause falls.

Make It Easier to Get Around Safely
If your house has stairs inside or outside, make sure they have secure railings. If anyone in your household has trouble standing, rising from a seated position or walking, install aids, such as grab bars in the bathroom. If an older adult in your family has difficulty walking, talk to the individual and his or her doctor about using a walker or cane.

Walking barefoot or wearing slippers can increase the risk of falling. Encourage family members to wear shoes in the house to help with balance.

Review Medications and Side Effects
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications cause side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness, which can contribute to falls. If you’re concerned that a medicine may be causing side effects that could put you or a loved one at risk of a fall, talk to that individual’s doctor about adjusting the dosage or switching to a different medication.

Keep Your Loved Ones Safe
Slip-and-fall accidents are common and can have devastating consequences, but many of them are preventable. Look for hazards in your home and ways to eliminate them to protect yourself, your family and your guests.