Safety at Home

Your home is likely one of the places where you spend the most time. The following article provides you with tips on how to prevent falls in each area of your home.

Bathroom safety

  • Turn the light on as soon as you enter the bathroom.
  • Consider installing light switches lower if you are using a wheelchair.
  • Have a night light.
  • Have mats on the floor that have rubber backing or are secured in place.
  • When you clean your floors, use a non-slip product.
  • Wipe up any moisture or spills right away.
  • Have non-slip surfaces or non-slip strips in the bathtub/shower.
  • Avoid using bath oil as it can be slippery.
  • If you have a hard time with balance, have a bath seat in the bathtub and use a hand-held shower hose.
  • Have grab bars on the walls to help you get in and out of the bathtub, and close to the toilet seat.
  • Use a raised toilet seat.
  • Make sure there is no clutter in the passageway.
  • Have a towel rack close to the bathtub.
  • Dry yourself well before getting out of the bathtub.
  • Have your soap and shampoo close by and handy.
  • Reduce or remove the door sill to prevent you from tripping.
  • Have a bathroom door lock that has an emergency release.

Bedroom safety

  • Have a light switch near the entrance to your bedroom.
  • Consider installing light switches lower if you are using a wheelchair.
  • Have a lamp or a light switch near your bed (if possible, on each side of your bed).
  • Always turn the light on and put on your glasses when you get up, and/or use a nightlight.
  • Have a flashlight near your bed in case the electricity goes out.
  • Have a phone and an emergency number near your bed.
  • Have a mattress that is firm and is not too high or too low. It should be just above your knees.
  • If balance is an issue, you can purchase bed rails to help you get out of bed.
  • Clear the path from your bed to the bathroom, so that it is free of clutter.
  • Look for pets that could be in your path.
  • Have a light in your closet.
  • Arrange clothes in your closet so they are easy to reach.
  • Have a chair with armrests in your bedroom for when you get dressed.
  • Remove rugs or have them secured to the floor.
  • Attach all electrical wires to the wall.
  • Reduce or remove the door sill to prevent you from tripping.
  • If you have hard flooring, make sure to use non-skid products when cleaning.
  • Have a working smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector near your bedroom.

Getting out of bed safely

It is always important to get up slowly and pause before standing up completely to give the body time to adjust to getting up. You might feel dizzy when you get out of bed.

When you are thinking of getting out of bed, first:

  • Roll to your side.
  • Lift your body with your forearms and at the same time slide your legs out of bed.
  • Sit on the side of the bed and wait about 15 seconds before getting up.
  • If you feel dizzy after sitting up, wiggle your toes for a few minutes and wait for any dizziness to settle completely before standing.
  • Turn on the light before you get up.
  • With both feet firmly on the floor, put your hands beside you on the bed and slowly push yourself up.
  • Once you get up, wait about 15 seconds again before you start walking.
  • Wear your glasses (but not reading glasses) before you start walking, as it may affect your balance.
  • If you have difficulty getting in and out of bed, consider getting bed railings to help.
  • Have a chair close by in case you need to hold on to something.
  • Avoid bedspreads, bed linens and draperies that reach the floor in order to keep feet from getting tangled. Before getting out of bed, look at the floor and make sure pillows or blankets have not fallen down onto your walking path.
  • Check to see if your pet is in your path or under your feet before you set them on the floor.
  • Nightstands should be sturdy and able to support your weight should you need assistance with standing and balance.
  • Have a flashlight in the nightstand in case the electricity goes out.
  • Have a phone with emergency numbers close by.

Hallway safety

  • Have good lighting.
  • Consider installing light switches lower if you are using a wheelchair.
  • Have a night light.
  • Remove rugs if possible, and if you do have rugs, arrange for them to be secured in place.
  • Always clean your floors with non-skid products.
  • Always wear your glasses at night when you get up to go to the bathroom.
  • Ensure there is no clutter in your pathway.
  • Look for pets potentially lying in the hallway.

Kitchen safety

  • There should be sufficient lighting in the kitchen, especially around the stove area.
  • Consider installing light switches lower if you are using a wheelchair.
  • Have a night light.
  • Floors should be cleaned with non-skid products.
  • Clean up spills as soon as they happen to avoid slipping.
  • Avoid having throw rugs in the kitchen, as you could slip very easily.
  • If you have rugs, ensure they are secured in place.
  • Remove all clutter.
  • Reduce or remove the door sill to prevent you from tripping.
  • Keep a close eye on your pets as they could be lying in your path.
  • Electrical wires should be secured to the wall.
  • There should be shelves under and in the cupboards.
  • The cupboards over the stove should not be used, as there is a potential for falls and burns.
  • Heavy items should be stored in the lower cupboards for easy access.
  • Arrange to have your pots and pans and other things that you use regularly at easy reach, between knee and shoulder heights.
  • Have heat-resistant oven mitts within reach when you are cooking.
  • Always use a sturdy step stool to reach items that are higher. It should have a safety rail.
  • Always close your drawers as soon as you are done using them.
  • Have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit close by, away from the stove.
  • Arrange to have a wireless phone with emergency numbers close by.

Living room safety

  • Arrange to have good lighting with a switch at the entrance of your living room.
  • Always turn the light on when you enter.
  • Consider installing light switches lower if you are using a wheelchair.
  • Have a night light.
  • Have a flashlight in the room in case the electricity goes out.
  • Make sure there are no throw rugs or that they are secured to the floor.
  • If you use wax on your floor, make sure it is of the non-skid kind.
  • Ensure the coffee table does not obstruct your passageways.
  • Move any obstacles in high-traffic areas.
  • Always keep an eye on pets lying around close to where you are walking.
  • Have the electrical wires out of the way and secured to the wall.
  • Do not sit on a chair or sofa that is too low and makes it difficult for you to stand up.
  • Make sure the telephone is easy to reach and have emergency numbers close by.

Stairway safety

  • Have proper lighting.
  • Have light switches at the bottom and at the top of the stairs.
  • Have a night light.
  • The handrail should run from the top to the bottom of the entire flight of stairs.
  • Always hold on to the handrail when going up or down the stairs.
  • The stairs should always be free of clutter.
  • Ensure that the steps are not slippery.
  • Avoid using wax on your stairs and make sure you have non-skid surfaces.
  • Clean up spills quickly.
  • The stairs should be stable and of the same height.
  • If you have rugs on the stairs, make sure they are firmly secured to the floor.
  • Avoid walking up or down the stairs with things in your hands as it can affect your balance.
  • Look for pets that might be in the stairway while you are using it.
  • Always wear proper shoes when using the stairs. Avoid using stairs while in your socks, or make sure your socks have anti-skid bottoms.
  • Always wear your glasses when you use the stairs, but remove reading glasses.
  • Never rush when you are using the stairs. Take the extra time to avoid a fall.

Footwear


Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario