It’s the place you go to relax and retreat: your home.

But a surprising number of accidents that require medical attention occur while the patients were at home. Keep an eye out for these four common household injuries.

Falls at home: Seniors 65 and older top the list of ER visits for injuries caused by falls, but they’re not alone: Falls also are the top injury cause for middle age adults and preschoolers. Here’s what to do:

  • Keep stairs and the floors in high traffic areas clear.
  • Adequately light your home, and rely on nightlights or flashlights if you get up after hours.
  • Use baby gates to keep toddlers in safer areas.
  • Make sure all rugs have a non-skid backing.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Clear walkways, stairs and sidewalks after a snowstorm, and treat them with a deicer product or a natural alternative such as sand or sawdust to limit ice buildup.

Bumps and bruises: A box tumbles down from a closet shelf and bumps you on the head, or you slip in the bathroom and slam a wrist against the tile. Injuries that occur when something strikes you — or when you strike something hard — are common accidents that could send you to the ER. Here’s what to do:

  • Reduce the number of items on upper levels of cabinets, closets and bookshelves, and keep them organized.
  • Make sure ladders are securely positioned before climbing on them; climb only to the top recommended step on the ladder.
  • Add a protective surface under swings and children’s play areas.
  • Close cabinet doors and drawers immediately after use.
  • Install sturdy handrails in seniors’ bathrooms.
  • Cushion sharp table edges at least until your baby is standing and walking steadily.

Over exerting: Rearranging your furniture may cause you to strain your back. Shoveling snow too long also might bring on a shoulder injury — or even a heart attack. Listen to your body when it’s telling you to take a break. Here’s what to do:

  • Get the help you need; don’t attempt to do strenuous jobs by yourself.
  • When lifting, keep your knees bent and lift from your legs, not your back.
  • Take frequent breaks and assess how you’re feeling.
  • Avoid twisting your torso when reaching for something.
  • Use ergonomically designed tools to lessen the chance of injury.
  • Remember to stretch before if you decide to take on a vigorous activity.

Where cuts occur: Whether you miss the mark while slicing a bagel or get a puncture wound by stepping on something sharp, cutting and piercing injuries also commonly occur at home. Here’s what to do:

  • Keep knives sharp: You use more pressure when cutting with a dull blade, which can lead to slips.
  • Clean up workspaces before you leave the project area—especially those where nails, tacks and metal shards may have fallen.
  • Reduce distractions and pay attention when using sharp instruments.
  • Wear shoes outside.
  • Wear gloves when working with tools.
  • Always keep your tetanus vaccination current.

And remember – Even Superman kept a well-stocked first-aid kit! You should too, using these tips from the American Red Cross.

Want to know more? Call me – I’m here to help.

Troy McAuliffe, Agent – State Farm 

315 N. Delsea Drive, Glassboro, NJ

Bus 856.881.6330 Fax 856.881.0061 – Licensed: NJ & PA