Home Accident Prevention Questionnaire

Can you identify which items on the following list are safety issues in the home and which ones are not?

1) An extension cord with a stereo, DVD-player, TV, converter box, and lamp plugged into it.
2) A small throw rug on top of your carpet.
3) A smoke detector in each bedroom.
4) A plastic bowl on top of the stove.
5) A sturdy step stool in the kitchen for getting things down from high shelves.
6) A walk in bathtub.
7) A telephone near the side of the bed.
8) A loose stair tread.
9) A grab bar beside the toilet.
10) A hot water heater set at 130°F.

OK. Let’s see how well you did.

1) Safety Issue! A fused power strip would be better for this many items. If everything were running at once, the extension cord could overheat and cause a fire.

2) Potential Safety Issue! Throw rugs are prone to slipping on both carpets and wood floors. Unless you are able to secure the throw rug effectively through the use of rubber backing or carpet tape find another way to enjoy those decorative rugs.

3) Way to Go! Placing a smoke detector in each bedroom is very smart. At the very least you need a smoke detector on each level of the house.

4) Safety Issue! One burner turned on accidentally (it does happen) can turn that plastic bowl into a flaming mass. Never place anything on top of the stove that can burst into flames.

5) Way to Go! Only use step stools and ladders that were designed for reaching high places. Choose the wrong chair, and you may find yourself on the floor with a broken body part.

6) Way to Go! Walk in bathtubs offer wonderful safety features, especially for seniors. The standard bathtub requires considerable balance, something that most seniors start losing because of various health issues. With a walk-in tub, a senior needs no more balance than he/she would need to manage a small step or sit in a chair.

7) Way to Go! Unless, you just don’t plan on answering the phone in the night, keep a phone near the bed, so you can answer it without falling out of bed or tripping in the dark in your haste to get to the phone. If you don’t want the phone to jolt you out of your sleep, turn the ringer off. More distant phones in the house will wake you more gently.

8) Safety Issue! Failing to keep stairs in top condition is a major no-no. Make it a habit to check stairs every month. You want to catch any issues before they cause a falling incident.

9) Way to Go! Grab bars make it easier to use upper body strength to maintain balance both while sitting down and rising from the toilet.

10) Safety Issue! Any hot water temperature above 120°F presents the risk of scalding injuries. A senior can lose their balance and fall into a tub of water at 120°F. They’ll find the water hot, but they won’t suffer severe burns before they are able to get out of the tub. Many seniors have suffered life threatening burns because the water in the tub was hot enough to scald them. Don’t risk it.

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