National Safety Month: What the National Safety Council Has to Say About Home Safety
According to a report recently published within Injury Facts 2015, an estimated 93,200 unintentional injury-related deaths occurred in the home and community in 2013. As a way to take action, the National Safety Council (NSC) dedicates every June as National Safety Month, with the purpose of educating and influencing the behaviors of adults and children around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.
What to be on the Look-Out for
Warning families to be aware of the dangers related to homes and recreation and to take the proper safety precautions, the NSC lists the following as the top causes of preventable, unintentional injuries and deaths in and around the home:
- Motor Vehicles
- Weather-related emergencies
Preventing Injuries and Deaths
When you face a weather-related emergency, stay informed through the radio, TV, or Internet. In some cases, however, cable, electric, and cell phone service may be knocked out entirely, making communication impossible. The NSC recommends having an emergency kit in your car along with at least three days of food and water at home; a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box that stores all important documents such as birth certificates and insurance policies; and at least one family member who is CPR-certified. The NSC also recommends knowing how to shut off facilities, a tip which could help save your home as well as your family's lives.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for children and young adults, ages 5 to 24. Be aware of the dangers associated with impaired driving, speeding, not using a seatbelt, and carbon monoxide poisoning (never leave a car running in a closed garage). Always remember: it is important to properly utilize child safety seats, wear helmets on motorcycles and wear seat belts.
Unintentional poisoning includes the unsupervised ingestion of drugs or chemicals, excessive use of a drug, and exposure to environmental substances. The most common poisons include over-the-counter medications, cleaning products, and personal care products. The best way to prevent poisoning is by sealing medicines tightly and out of reach of children.
According to Injury Facts 2015, drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to four, and most drowning and near-drowning incidents happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub. To prevent drowning-related injuries and deaths, always watch your child while he or she is bathing, swimming, or around water.
The CDC reports that one-in-three adults over the age of 65 falls each year. According to the NCSL, falls among older adults are responsible for more than 20,000 deaths, 2.4 million emergency department visits, and more than $30 billion in direct medical costs annually. Some of the underlying causes include muscle weakness, medication-related dizziness, improper footwear, and impaired vision. But there are other factors which can be improved, such as slick floors, poor lighting, loose rugs, clutter, and uneven surfaces. You can easily make your home or the home of a loved one safer by doing some simple organizing, decluttering and furniture arranging.
Choking hazards for children include food, toys, and household items; while in older adults, having dentures and difficulty with swallowing is a common culprit of choking. To prevent choking in children, keep small objects out of reach, cut food into small pieces, and supervise them while eating and playing. Potential signs of choking include: difficulty breathing, bluish skin color and loss of consciousness. If a choking victim is responsive but unable to cough, speak, or breathe, you can perform the Heimlich Maneuver to prevent suffocation. To learn or refresh yourself on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, check out this YouTube video.
A leading cause of home fires is the dryer vent. FEMA reports that an estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires occur every year, resulting in death, injury, and $35 million in property loss. To help keep your family safe from a dryer vent fire, clean the lint screen before or after drying each load of clothes, schedule a dryer vent cleaning with a professional once every year, keep the area around your dryer clean and free of clutter, and do not leave dried clothes in the dryer.
More info? For more tips related to National Safety Month, check out one of our other posts, June is National Home Safety Month!