While we tend to think of the home as our refuge from the world and our place of ultimate safety, according to the CDC more than half of all injuries occur in and around the home. In order to help you have a safe and relaxing summer we’ve consulted a couple of safety experts and have put together a list of tips for you to consider.
According to Carly Stewart (MD), Medical Expert at Money Crashers, the most common types of household injuries that she sees are cuts, burns and falls.
Carly says that, cuts most occur in the kitchen during food preparation and are often the result of dull knives. While it may seem counter-intuitive, “a sharp knife has less of a chance of slipping off of a vegetable or piece of fruit mid-slice.” Additionally, when using a dull knife you tend to push much harder, which increases the chance of an accident.
To avoid cuts, keep a knife sharpener in your pantry and use it often. We like the options that Bed Bath and Beyond offers
Like cuts, burns tend to happen in the kitchen. The most common burns that Carly sees are caused either by cooking mishaps or by too hot water. Unlike cuts, burns tend to happen due to a wider variety of causes but here are 4 tips to reduce your chances of suffering one of these painful injuries.
Use Oven Mits: Dish towels are not intended to insulate against high heat. Make sure to use oven mits and pot holders when moving hot pots and pans.
Avoid Steam: When baking foods that contain moisture stand back from the oven door when you first open it to let the trapped steam escape safely. Similarly, when opening a pot full of liquid, open it carefully and with the gap facing opposite so that steam escapes in a safe direction.
Turn Down Your Water Heater: Another common source of household burns is scalding water. Energyguide.com recommends setting your water heater to 120´ F or less. At this temperature the chance of a serious accidental burn is reduced and so is your energy bill!
In addition to following these safety measures we recommend that you keep a first-aid burn kit in your house, separate from your standard first aid kit. The kits include burn gel to cool and sanitize your injury and sterile dressings to wrap your burn up. Amazon carries these kits in a number of sizes.
Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents are most common in the bathroom in and around the toilet and the tub/shower area. These accidents are often the result of wet and slippery surfaces. According to Carly, the best way to make your bathroom a safer place is to put non-slip mats down in the tub and on your bathroom floor. We like the wide selection that Lowes has to offer.
In addition to the common household injuries above, Nick Santangelo from Foremost Promotions who specializes in fire safety awareness, tells us that approximately 164,500 residential cooking fires occur each year. According to Nick, “the good news is that the best way to avoid an accidental fire in your kitchen is actually pretty simple: pay attention.” Don’t leave your kitchen when you’re frying, broiling or grilling and you’ll be able to prevent most kitchen fires.
We also recommend that you stock a small fire extinguisher in easy reach of your kitchen. Make sure it is designed for kitchen use, since some fire extinguishers will actually make a grease fire worse. We like the Kidde UL 711A Kitchen Fire Extinguisher carried by Home Depot because it uses a non-toxic agent (important in the kitchen!) and is designed to work well on grease fires.
Finally, we recommend that you keep a first aid kit handy in your kitchen and at least one other kit in a central location. Walmart carries some great (and affordable) options.