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First Aid (cont.)

Injury Prevention

Accidents happen, but the risk of injury can be potentially minimized, planning and equipment make all the difference. Injuries happen at work, at play, at home, and on the road.

Injury prevention on the road

Things that make a difference while driving or riding in a vehicle include:

  • Wear a seatbelt.
  • Have proper fitting car seats for infants and children.
  • Wear a helmet when on a motorcycle or bicycling.
  • Never drive drunk or mentally impaired.
  • Never get in a car with a drunk or impaired driver and try to prevent them from driving.
  • Supervise teen drivers and follow graduated license restrictions until the young driver has more experience behind the wheel.
  • Supervise older drivers and help them decide when they may have become dangerous. This may require enlisting the help of their physician or other friends. Loss of driving means loss of independence for a person, and it is just as life-changing a moment as a teenager who experiences the freedom of their first car.

Injury prevention at work

  • Know how how to use equipment properly and don't take cut corners
  • Always wear safety equipment
  • When using your body as a tool, use it wisely.
  • Lift using proper technique.
  • Adjust workstations to fit your body size and shape.
  • Use common sense when reaching, especially when working on ladders or inclines.
  • Never work when impaired. Aside from drugs and alcohol, this includes being sleep deprived, which can increase the risk of accident and injury.

Injury Prevention at Home

Injuries that happen at home occur because of falls, fires, and poisonings. Falls occur at any age and while we consider them accidental, in retrospect, they may be all preventable. The same can be said for fires and poisoning.

Fall Prevention

For older adults, the CDC recommends a four-step approach to prevention.

  1. Begin a regular exercise program that emphasizes strength and coordination
  2. Review medications, since some may cause lightheadedness
  3. Have vision checked on a regular basis
  4. Make home safer including removing things that can cause tripping, removing small throw rugs, improving lighting, wearing shoes all the time, and installing grab bars and handrails.

Fire Prevention

  1. Install smoke detectors in the home, boat, or RV, and routinely change batteries and make certain that they are working.
  2. Have a fire escape plan for your home, boat, or RV and make certain everybody, even children, know about it.
  3. Keep matches away from children.
  4. Don't smoke in bed.
  5. Make certain all ashes are cold and not smoldering before putting them in the garbage.
  6. Use space heaters wisely and do not place them near drapes or other flammable materials.

Poisoning Prevention

Medications should be stored out of reach of children and ideally should be locked up. This includes over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen and aspirin. Over-the-counter medications can be toxic and just as lethal as prescription medications when taken improperly.

Cleaning chemicals, liquids, and detergents should always be kept in their original container and stored in a place out of reach from children. Under the sink is a bad place unless the area is always locked.

Poison proofing a home includes getting rid of any chemicals that you do not need. This includes items in the kitchen, laundry room, garage, and the workshop.

Know your local poison control center telephone number and write it down or program it into your cell phone. The National Poison Control telephone number is 1-800-222-1222.

Install a carbon monoxiode detector in your home, boat, or RV to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Some states require these by law.

Injury Prevention at Play

  • Wear a helmet when on anything that goes faster than you can run. This includes bicycles, scooters, skateboards, skis, snowboards, and too many other home-made devices built for speed. Speed is fun but should be tempered with safety.
  • Playground equipment needs to be maintained, especially if it's in a backyard. Swings are a common cause of falls in kids. In public playgrounds falls from climbing structures are a number one source of injury.
  • Drowning should always be preventable. Water is a draw to young and old alike but it should be treated with respect. Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death in kids aged 1–14.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/22/2014

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