Get Healthy: Keep safety in mind at home and at play

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

June is National Safety Month. Keeping ourselves and those around us safe is a responsibility we all must take seriously. As we go about our day, many of us encounter hazards that could place us at risk for accident or injury. While often these risks are small and we go about our routine without incident, it’s important to be aware there are steps we can take to make sure we get through the day safe and sound. At home and at play, keeping safety in mind can often help prevent accidents.

Safety starts at home. It’s important to have smoke detectors on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Check you smoke detectors to ensure the batteries are working, and replace them regularly. Also, make sure you have functioning fire extinguishers. When you go to bed or leave the house, make sure candles and space heaters are extinguished or turned off.

Avoid slips, trips and falls. By putting non-slip strips in the tub, shower or on slick floors you can reduce the likelihood of accidentally slipping and injuring yourself. Additionally, make sure walkways and stairs are kept free of clutter that could become a tripping hazard.

Make sure to keep poisons and chemicals in their own separate storage area, away from food and out of reach of children and pets. Make sure all chemicals and medicines are accurately labeled to prevent accidental ingestion. It’s a good idea to store anything poisonous in a locked cabinet as well. Some chemicals can be harmful to breathe or touch. Make sure you follow manufacturer’s instructions to avoid injury.

When you leave home, safety still should be on your mind. Recreational safety is an important concern, and being injured during a leisure activity isn’t fun at all. We often think about safety for our children, but it’s also important to be safe as adults. Wearing appropriate safety gear is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

Gear is available for sports ranging from bike riding to rock climbing to water sports. However, simply strapping on a helmet or some pads may not be enough. It’s important to make sure your gear fits correctly and is undamaged at the time of use. Ill-fitting or damaged equipment may not only give you less protection, but may actually make any possible injuries worse in the case of an accident. Check with coaches, knowledgeable sales people, or equipment manufacturers to find out what equipment is recommended and tips for proper fit. If you’re in an accident while wearing your protective equipment, make sure to inspect it for damage. In some cases damage may be hard to spot, so a good rule of thumb is to replace a helmet if it’s involved in a crash.

These are just a few tips to keep you and your family safe. We’d love to hear more. Like us on Facebook to join our National Safety Month discussion and share your own safety tips.

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