Christine Kuehn Kelly
Freelance Writer and Editor
55 ways to a safer haven (Excerpted from Woman's Day)
It's the end of a busy day, and you're looking forward to spending a relaxing evening in the comfort of your own home. But instead, you end up in the hospital emergency room because you or a family member has slipped and fallen on your stairs, been burned by a hot pot on the stove, or worse.
You've got plenty of company. Each year, more than 7 million Americans suffer serious injuries resulting form accidents in their own living rooms or backyards. In 1995, there were 26,400 deaths due to household injuries.
Thankfully, all it takes are some minor adjustments and additions to turn your home into a safe haven. "You can't prevent all injuries in the home," says Ann Brown, head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. "But simple precautions can help prevent the serious ones."
Slips and falls kill or disable more Americans than any other type of home accident. In fact, nearly a third of all residential fatalities are the result of falls. And it's not just the dimly lit basement steps that are the problem. Even the few steps to your front door or patio can be hazardous, especially when your arms are full of groceries or you're rushing to answer the phone.
The bare minimum
Make sure you have secure, easy-to-grip handrails along all stairs.
Secure loose carpeting or acrylic tiles to the floor
Use contrasting colors or plant arrangements to draw attention to short flights of stairs
More than 4,000 Americans are killed from home fires, and an additional 25,000 people are injured each year. The leading cause of fire deaths: careless smoking.
The bare minimum:Install smoke alarms on every floor--and make sure they work. "A third of all smoke detectors don't function because the batteries are dead or missing," says Ron Hazelton, host of The House Doctor on the Home and Garden Television Network……