How closely have you checked your house for hazards?  Since June is “Home Safety Month”, this is an excellent time to remind you of the many chances for you or a loved one to be injured in your very own home.  According to the Home Safety Council, making a checklist is a good way to start.

Going room by room, you will be surprised at what’s lurking….. even your computer!  Yes, we said your computer.

New research has shown that more people are showing up in emergency rooms with computer-related injuries, according to Jennifer Thomas, reporter for HealthDay.

From 1994 to 2006, there was an increase in injuries of 732 per cent nationwide from 1,300 per year to 9,300 per year of persons tripping over computer wires or getting hit by falling equipment. Ms. Thomas reports that a study published in the online issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, stated that more and more people are using computers, and over a 13-year period, around 78,000 people had computer-related injuries.  The report suggests that computers should be kept on a wide work surface to ensure they won’t tip over, and cords need to be away from walking areas.  The study revealed that children under the age of 5 had the highest injury rate, with the leading cause of injury tripping or falling over computer equipment.

Here are some other areas you need to add to your checklist:

  • Bathroom:  For chemicals or poisons.  Also, are there mats on the floor so there’s no slipping?  Don’t leave medicines in drawers that are within reach of children.
  • Kitchen:  Also check for poisons, chemicals, cleaning solutions that are accessible to children.  Fire extinguisher.  Do you have one and know how to use it?
  • Stairways: Be sure rails are in good shape.  Is the area well lighted?  Check for loose carpet.  Also have safety gates installed at foot and top of stairs if there are toddlers in the home.
  • Living Room/Den/Dining Room: Be sure furniture is tip-proof.  Adults, as well as children, have been hurt by furniture that tips over.
  • Hallways: How often do you check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?  (A good rule of thumb is every spring and fall when the time changes.)
  • Windows:  In warm weather, be sure you have strong window screens.  Also, remember that cords from mini-blinds have been known to cause injury and death to small children.  Adjust them so there are no loops that might get into the wrong hands.
  • Outside:  Again, don’t leave chemicals or pesticides where pets or children will find them.

Keep your home clutter-free.  Chances are better that no one will get hurt if there’s no danger of tripping.  Take the time to look around to see just how many ways there are for you to keep your “Home Sweet Home” safer!