Avoid devastating injuries and ensure your staircases are as safe as possible.
A slip-and-fall accident can cause serious injuries, including broken bones and head trauma. A fall can happen to anyone, but senior citizens, young children, and people who difficulty walking are at the greatest risk. Make a few simple modifications and make the stairs, and by extension your home, safer for everyone.
1. Install Stair Treads
Steps that are made with smooth material like wood may be slippery. To reduce the risk of accident, cover indoor steps with carpet treads. They provide a surface that’s easier for people and pets to walk on safely.
2. Place and Secure Railings on Both Sides
Having a railing to hold while walking up and down the stairs can significantly reduce the risk of someone falling. Railings should be located on either side of a staircase so a person can grab one or both as they travel up and down. Ensure they’re a standard size that’s easy to grasp and that they’re mounted at an appropriate height. 33 inches is considered the optimum height for stair rails.
Check the railings on a regular basis to ensure they’re securely attached. If a railing is damaged or loose, have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
3. Light the Stairs
Poor lighting is a common cause of slip-and-fall accidents. If a staircase is dimly lit, it can be difficult to see where one step ends and another begins. This is especially true for seniors and those with impaired vision. Depending on the size and design of the staircase, you might need to install one or more light fixtures at the top or bottom to provide enough illumination. Consider using a motion-sensor light to eliminate the need for an on-off switch.
4. Keep the Path Clear
Many accidents occur because an object on the stairs gets in the way and a person is unable to step over or around it. Toys, shoes, and laundry are common culprits. Be in the habit of clearing the stairs on a regular basis and make it a family rule that nothing is left on the stairs. Add a box or basket for nearby items that need to be moved upstairs or downstairs. This way, if you don’t have free hands to move the items immediately, they’re out of harm’s way until you’re able.
During the winter, snow and ice make outdoor steps treacherous. During the fall and spring, wet fallen leaves make for a slippery surface as well. Shovel, sweep and remove debris from exterior steps regularly as well.
5. Add Special Features
If a senior citizen or a person with limited mobility lives in your home, consider installing a stair lift to help the individual move around the house safely. Ramps and special considerations indoor and outdoor are also important to make it easier to enter and leave the house safely. Gates are also an effective method of keeping the stairs inaccessible when not in use.
Take care to ensure your staircases are safe and secure, well lit and appointed with safety equipment, to ensure that everyone can travel up and down safely, inside and outside your home.
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