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Toddler opening unlocked cabinetSimple steps to avoid injuries in the home

Michael Goldschmidt, National Director – Healthy Homes Partnership, State Housing and Environmental Design Specialist, University of Missouri Extension


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. Each year, thousands of Americans are injured at home. Many of them are seriously injured, and some are disabled. Injuries are the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 1 and 44, and are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control.


The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Here are some suggestions to make your home safer:


  • Remove hazards that increase the chance for falling, such as rugs, loose cords and objects on the floor.
  • Secure stair handrails that are loose or wobbly.
  • Check or change the batteries on your carbon monoxide alarm at least twice a year.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly to ensure they work properly.
  • Keep cooking areas free of flammable objects, such as pot holders and towels.
  • Keep candles, medicine, household cleaners and other chemicals out of children’s reach in locked or child-proof cabinets.
  • Post your local poison control hotline on a refrigerator or other easy to find place.
  • Don’t use a gasoline or charcoal-burning device near a window, door or vent, or inside your home, basement or garage.
  • Make your home smoke-free.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.

Healthy Homes Partnership logo 

Making your home safe is one of eight principles of a healthy home. A healthy home is designed, constructed, maintained or repaired in a manner that prevents diseases and injuries that result from housing-related hazards. For more information about healthy and safe homes, visit the National Healthy Homes Partnership at


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Last update: Wednesday, July 22, 2015