We’ve all laughed at the pictures circulated in cyberspace showing ridiculously unsafe practices, from precarious ladders to smoking around flammable gases. It’s easy to think: “That’s how dumb you’d have to be to get hurt. I would never do that.”
But if we stop laughing and think for a moment, most of us realize we have taken one or more of the risks that contribute to the major causes of injuries and even injury fatalities. Nothing spectacularly stupid, nothing you’d ever see in a social media post. Just little mistakes. Because we’ve made those little mistakes before without consequences, we don’t even think of them as risks.
See how many times you respond with a “yes” to the following:
- I have left the kitchen (even for just a minute) while using the cook top (Cooking equipment is the source of 15% of home fire fatalities, and by far the leading cause of home fire injuries.)
- I’ve checked my phone while driving, but only for a couple of seconds (Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.)
- I have, or someone in my home has, smoked while drinking, tired or taking meds (Smoking materials are the cause of 24% of home fire fatalities, often when the smoker falls asleep).
- I don’t always use the seat belt if I’m only going a short distance.
- I have not had my furnace serviced by a professional in over a year (Carbon monoxide poisonings are on the rise, 94% of reported incidents occur in residential settings).
- I have not checked my smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the last 6 months (Are they still working? Can everyone hear them?)
- I don’t always insist my kids where a helmet while biking (Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent)
- I’m safe using the phone while driving because I have a headset (Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use, according to research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
- My first thought when I hear my home alarms is not “my emergency exit plan” (Experts tell us we may have only 3 minutes or less to get out!)
A few simple changes in the way we do things every day can greatly reduce the risk of injury for ourselves and our loved ones. Learn more from Prevention 1st‘s Safety Resources.