This is something that as an interior design company, the professionals at Leslie Schlesinger Interiors take into consideration when planning home interiors. While children under age 5 and senior adults over age 70 are the two highest risk groups for falls, family members and guests of all ages can “fall” victim to this silent threat.
According to The State of Home Safety in America™ survey conducted by the Home Safety Council, falls are by far the leading cause of unintentional home injury death, accounting for nearly 6,000 deaths each year, an average of 5.1 million injuries and an average of 3.8 million emergency room visits every year.
Here’s what you can do to prevent such an emergency.
Stairs can be one of the most dangerous areas in the home. Stairs should have full, sturdy handrails on both sides, from the top to the bottom, without any obstructions (always keep stairs clear of items). As stylish as that houseplant at the foot of your steps may be, it could be a serious hazard in the case of an unexpected fall. Inspect the steps to ensure that none are broken or uneven; if they are, have someone repair them as soon as possible. Also make sure that carpeting on the stairs is firmly attached to each step (not loose or torn). If carpeting is not firmly attached, remove it and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs. Install overhead lighting and light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs, and ensure that they stay in working order at all times (don’t let a burned out bulb cause an accident). It may also be helpful to paint a contrasting color on the top edge of each step to make the steps easier to see, for example, paint a stripe of light color on a dark wood step.
Walk through each room and look for any potential safety hazards. Around the rest of the home, check –
• Flooring – Rugs can be a tripping hazard. Tape rugs to the floor or use a non-slip rug backing.
• Lighting – Improving the lighting in your home increases its safety. Use brighter bulbs, like florescent bulbs, if possible, and put lamps in darker corners of the home. Put inexpensive nightlights throughout the home – in the bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms. In the bedroom, place a lamp within arm’s reach of the bed.
• Bathroom – Use a mat with non-slip strips in the tub and shower and use bath mats with non-skid bottoms on the floors. If you have an elderly person in the home, it may help them if you install grab bars in the tub and shower and next to the toilet and install a raised toilet seat for easy access on and off the toilet.
• Other Areas – Keep a clear walking path around furniture. Coil cords and wires and tape them against the wall, under furniture, or otherwise out of the way so that they cannot cause any trips. If needed, consider hiring an electrician to install additional power outlets, if they are needed, to help avoid the use of long electrical cords. Install window guards on upstairs windows to prevent a child from falling out of the window.
For more information about Leslie Schlesinger Interiors, please visit www.leslieschlesingerinteriors.com.