Residential - Tips & tricks - Accidents in the home

Know how to prevent them accidents in the home are often caused by negligence: an object left lying on the floor or on a staircase, a wet floor, a toxic product left within a child's reach or improperly used. Examples are endless! Here are a few tips to help you organize your living space to prevent accidents - both for yourself, your children and even visitors and guests.

Burns are the most frequent accidents in the home. To avoid them, keep hot pot handles out of reach and ensure that children stay away from a working stove. The iron is an enemy; never leave one turned out and unsupervised. When filling the bathtub, always start and finish with cold water. Stay clear of electric baseboards and backup heating systems. Children often like to play with matches; make sure none are left lying around to keep them from getting burned or, worse still, starting a fire.

With proper lighting, you'll be able to clearly see where you're going. Do not leave items lying on the floor. Avoid small area rugs and make sure floors are dry after cleaning. A solid banister at the proper height, as well as anti-skid stairs uncluttered by objects will make staircases safer. And why not a rubber anti-skid mat for the tub? If need be, install support bars for elderly. Keep the front walkway clear of clutter, remove dead leaves, and use a de-icer or sand on snow and ice. Watch out for open windows and children playing near them... young ones can be fearless!

We use and keep dozens of toxic products in our homes. These are potential causes of fatal poisoning because the products are improperly used or left within reach of children.

Ideally, medications should be kept together in a cabinet or drawer, preferably locked and, of course, out of reach of children. Telling your children about the health risks of medications can dissuade them from mistaking pills for candy. Bring past-date medicines to your pharmacist. Household products such as detergents, solvents, waxes, etc. will be less tempting to children if they are stored in an unreachable place. When using household products, follow the instructions for use and check any "danger" symbols on labels. Beauty products, nail polish, and perfumes can be dangerous poisons. Keep them in a safe place.

An electrocution can cause a heart attack as well as serious burns and lesions. Simple precautions can help avoid this type of accident. For example: never touch an electrical outlet or wire with wet hands; do not handle a damaged outlet; and never operate an electric appliance or device on a damp or wet floor. A glass of water or other liquid standing near a functioning electrical object (television, radio, sound system, video game, computer, etc.) can be dangerous. If you need to change a light bulb, unplug the light fixture first. Also, think about installing outlet covers to protect little fingers from harm.

A child can drown in two centimetres of water - quietly and in just a few seconds! Keep your eye on a child playing near water and never leave a child alone in the bathtub.

In case of emergency
In order to react quickly in the event of an accident, a poisoning or an electrocution, keep emergency numbers by the phone.
- All emergencies: 9-1-1.
- Quebec poison control centre: 1-800-463-5060.
- The phone numbers of the family doctor, pharmacist and relatives or 
  persons who could provide quick assistance.

Each year, the Red Cross offers cardiopulmonary resuscitation courses in all regions of Quebec.
For information, call 1-800-592-7649 or look at: