Written by: Joe Fiduccia
In a survey by America’s Footprints of 500 American families of three or more, 62% of those families take ‘adequate’ steps towards ensuring infant and toddler safety.
But when it comes to the safety of baby boomers and senior citizens, only 48% have taken adequate precautions.
Often many of us don’t consider performing a top-to-bottom safety inspection of our home for grown adults. But according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, more than 600,000 older Americans are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms for injuries at home.
And a large majority of those injuries could have been easily avoided with a few simple preventative steps.
The approach we take towards the safety and security of our parents & grandparents should change as we get older. Though there are certainly some similarities, how we secure a home for a child is somewhere different than for senior citizens.
For example, when we have infants and toddlers, we are quick to secure things like cabinet doors and wall sockets. But when we look after our parents and grandparents, we should pay more attention to things such as slippery floors and loose steps or railings.
Here is a list of the top 10 baby boomer safety checks in the home we recommend starting with:
1. Look through all of your lighting fixtures. Do any lamps, ceiling lights, or any other interior / exterior lights contain bulbs that are not the proper rating / wattage for the fixture?
2. Reroute any wires that are running through unsafe locations. Examples include wiring under a door or a rug, under furniture, or through walls with no protective sheathing.
3. Inspect all wall outlets, switches, and plate covers, looking for cracks, broken components, missing screws, or burn marks.
4. Check to see if any wall switches feel excessively warm to the touch when left on. If so, the switch may be a fire hazard and should be checked.
5. Check if any area / floor mats or carpets slide along the floor too easily. For example, are they missing a rubber non-slip underlayment or double-sided tape?
6. Are all stairs of the same height and width to help prevent trips?
7. Has the water heater been set to a non-scalding temperature? (Generally 120 degrees or lower is the safest setting.)
8. Are there any items in the kitchen that are particularly difficult to reach, placed either too high or too low?
9. Are safety pins / bands available to help secure or tie back loose clothing when cooking next to open flames?
10. Check all shelves to ensure they do not have too much weight on them.
Unless noted, all of these checks apply to both the interior AND the exterior of a home, and should be performed at least once every 6 months.
If you find anything that requires attention, unless you are an expert in that field or have experience with those types of repairs, we recommend consulting with a professional immediately to determine the best course of action.
We hope you find this list helpful in keeping our older generations safe at home!