While we are spending more time at home than usual, the chances of being injured at home has increased significantly. The best way to prevent injuries during is to reduce distractions. We are all multi-tasking every day -- working from home, homeschooling, caring for loved ones, helping our neighbors and community. Make sure to slow down; keep you and your family’s health and safety first.
Below, you will find some other tips to avoid common injuries that occur in and around our homes.
Just because there are fewer cars on the road does not mean this is the time to stop paying attention. People are often less careful when there are fewer cars driving around them. Drivers should:
- Continue to wear your seatbelt.
- Pay attention to the road and other drivers.
- Follow posted speed limits.
- Be aware of more people biking and walking on roadways.
Walking outside can be one of the best things for our mental health right now, providing exercise and fresh air. Following the rules of the road when walking is just as important as when you are driving.
- Walk on the sidewalk if one is available.
- Walk on the left side of the road if no sidewalk is available. This allows you to make eye contact with approaching drivers.
- Use crosswalks or intersections to cross the street.
- If walking at night, stay in well-lit areas, wear bright clothing and carry a flashlight.
Helmets are important to wear while riding bikes, ATVs and dirt bikes as well as skateboards and rollerblades. Helmet use can considerably reduce the chance of a brain injury.
- Adults should set a good example for children by wearing their own helmet.
- If you or a loved one are riding an ATV or dirt bike you should wear an appropriately regulated helmet and eye protection.
- Follow these steps for proper bike helmet fitting.
Responsible alcohol consumption can prevent many injuries. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to falls, burns, cuts and other serious injuries.
- Do not drink and drive - this includes vehicles, bikes, golf carts, ATVs and dirt bikes.
- If you are cooking or supervising children, be responsible with any alcohol consumption.
- Do not use machinery (saws, lawnmowers, etc.) if you have been drinking.
As people cook more frequently, the chance of getting burned increases. There are a few simple ways to prevent a burn.
- Keep young children out of the kitchen when using the stove.
- Take your time and be cautious around hot appliances, liquid and food.
- Supervise older children and teens using the kitchen.
- Use caution when enjoying fire pits, grills or fireworks.
Like in my own neighborhood, everyone is taking this time to work on projects around their home and yard. Often, this requires the use of a ladder.
- Make sure the ladder is in good working condition.
- Have someone to help control the ladder while you are on it.
- Avoid carrying too many items up a ladder with you.
Whether you have been a long-time gun owner or have recently purchased your first firearm, now is a great time to ensure safe gun storage. Children are home more hours of the day. Teens and adults alike may be experiencing difficulties with mental health and proper gun storage can prevent unintended access or even theft.
- Keep your firearms locked in a safe or lock box or use a gun lock.
- Store ammunition in a locked storage container in a separate location.
- If someone in your home is experiencing depressive or suicidal thoughts, consider surrendering your firearms temporarily to create a less dangerous environment. Contact your local law enforcement to find out more information.
Trampolines are a great way for kids of all ages to get out some energy during homeschool “PE”.
- Make sure your trampoline has padding and a net that secures all the way around the frame.
- Limit the number of people on a trampoline at one time based on its size.
- Older children should not jump on a trampoline with smaller children. For example, a 4-year-old will find it very difficult to stay in control of their body if they are jumping with a 12-year-old.
Meredith Spell RN, BSN is New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Injury and Violence Prevention Coordinator.