Did you know that your chances of getting hurt at home are much higher than they are at work or school? The leading causes of death in the home are falls, drowning, fires, poisoning, suffocation, choking, and guns. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. This section will help you ask questions to find out if your home is a safe place to live and how to make it even safer.
Very young children and older adults are the most likely to get hurt at home. Keep people's age in mind when thinking about how to keep your home safe.
Falls kill more people than any other type of accident beside car crashes. Most falls happen at home. Most people trip and fall at floor level, not going up or down stairs Falls can be worse for adults than for chil dren. They fall faster and harder than children. Their bones are weaker, so they break more easily too.
In the U.S., more than one million children age five and under are poisoned each year.
Young children are curious and get into everyday things that can hurt or even kill them. Over half of them become sick or die from eating or drinking common items like medicine, makeup, and plants. Children like to play with these things because they can look or smell good.
For over a decade, the number of people who die in fires has gone down. Yet fires are still one of the main causes of death in the home. Older adults are most at risk because they may not be able to respond to an alarm or get out of a building quickly.
Choking and suffocation also cause many deaths in the home. When a person chokes, something like a piece of food has gotten stuck in their throat and stopped their breathing. Suffocation happens when a person's nose, mouth, or throat is blocked and they can't breathe. If someone stops breathing long enough they can suffer brain damage or die. Children under age four and older adults are the most likely to die from choking. People can choke on food, or something not meant to be eaten at all, like a button or a coin. Sheets, blankets, and plastic bags can suffocate people who get caught in them.
Drowning kills more than 1,000 children ages 14 and under each year. For every child who drowns, another 20 children go to the hospital or emergency room because they almost drowned.
It takes just a few easy, fairly low-cost steps to keep your children safe from many everyday dangers. The questions below and on the next page will help you find safety problems at home. Page 51 will give you ideas about what to do. Remember, making your home safer for everybody may mean taking more than one step.
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