Missouri has been facing an unintentional injury problem for the last decade. Unintentional injuries are injuries that occur due to an accident or negligence rather than intentional harm. Among the age group 1-44, unintentional injuries were the number one cause of death in Missouri. Infants 4 years and younger are the most likely to be involved in an unintentional injury that results in death or disability.
Unintentional injuries can happen at any place and any time, but many can happen right at home. In fact, the home is the most common place for unintentional injuries to occur, and falls are the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths at home. Not surprisingly, Missouri ranks higher than the national average in deaths due to falling at 68.61 deaths per 100,000. Other common unintentional injuries include poisonings, drownings, suffocation, and burns. It’s estimated that 90% of unintentional injuries could have been avoided if proper precautions are taken. Here are some tips to prevent an injury at home.
Keep Your Home Well-Maintained
Routinely inspect your home for potential hazards. Loose railings, broken stairs, and unsecured fixtures should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent falls and other injuries. Some maintenance items can be fixed by doing-it-yourself, but don’t be afraid to hire a skilled handyman for bigger jobs.
Be Fire Safe
Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home. Ensure your smoke detectors have a functioning battery and replace them if necessary. It’s recommended to test smoke alarms on a monthly basis. Additionally, establishing a fire escape plan with your family will dramatically reduce the risk of injury. It’s not a bad idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy as well.
Store Household Chemicals Securely and Safely
Household cleaning products, medications, and pest control products should be secured and placed out of reach for children. Batteries also cause catastrophic injuries if ingested, so take extra care if you have toddlers.
Exercise Caution Around a Pool or Hot Tub
If you have water on your property, make sure it’s properly fenced off. Never leave young children unattended near water. Consider installing a pool alarm which will detect if someone has entered.
Clear Your Home of Clutter
Clutter presents tripping and falling hazards. Pay special attention to high traffic areas in your house such as:
- On top of stairs
- In the kitchen
- In bathroom and shower
- Bedroom doorways
- Front door entrance
- Near the base of your bed
Keep in mind, even a condition such as poor lighting can be enough to trigger a slip-and-fall accident according to Miller & Hine, personal injury attorneys serving St. Louis.
Unfortunately, accidents can still happen. If you take the time to care for your house you can significantly reduce the chances of an unintentional injury. Not only is this important for your own safety, but it can prevent you from being held liable if somebody gets injured on your property.