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03 June 2002

Safety in the home

It's a well-known fact that most accidents happen in the home, and everyone - whether you have epilepsy or not - needs to take a little extra care to avoid unnecessary injury. The following tips expand on basic domestic safety measures to help make your environment as safe as possible should you have a seizure.

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It's a well-known fact that most accidents happen in the home, and everyone - whether you have epilepsy or not - needs to take a little extra care to avoid unnecessary injury. The following tips expand on basic domestic safety measures to help make your environment as safe as possible should you have a seizure.

In general

  • Don't keep internal house doors locked.
  • Fit room doors so that they open outwards. If you have a seizure inside the room and fall against the door, it can be easily opened from outside.
  • Put down thick carpeting (including on the bathroom floor) to cushion against falls.
  • Choose padded furniture with rounded corners.
  • Don't smoke or light fires or candles when you're alone. Use fireplace screens while a fire is burning.
  • Avoid heaters that can tip over or that have an exposed heating element.
  • Use an iron with an automatic shut-off switch.
  • Choose low chairs, or with arms to prevent falls; and a low, wide bed.
  • Have emergency numbers written up next to the phone.
  • Install safety glass in windows and doors.

 
In the kitchen and diningroom
  • Consider using a microwave oven. It's safer than a conventional stove that uses electrical elements or gas.
  • If you use a conventional stove, use the back plates or burners, and turn saucepan handles back and inwards.
  • Avoid carrying hot food containers. Try to arrange it so that your cooking and dining areas are near each other. Use a tea trolley instead of carrying hot food or drinks from one room to another.
    · Use plastic rather than glass and ceramic food containers to prevent cuts, and cups with lids to prevent burns.
  • Wear long oven gloves when removing items from a hot oven.
  • Wear rubber gloves when handling knives or washing breakable dishes and glassware.

 
In the bathroom
  • Have your daily bath or shower at and for a set time, to coincide with times other household members are at home. Tell someone you are about to bath or shower.
  • Showers are generally safer than baths.
  • Don't use a shower with a door that seals: rather use a shower curtain or a door that has a gap at its base.
  • Don't run the taps while you're in the bath, and keep the water level low.
  • Check that the outflow pipes from the bath and shower drain properly.
  • Consider using a shower or bath seat.
  • Avoid using electrical appliances near water.

In the garden and doing DIY

  • Choose grass surfaces over paved.
  • Use power tools and motor-driven equipment that have a "dead man's" handle - the power is cut off if your hand releases its grip.
  • Avoid climbing, and then only as high as you can safely fall. If you must climb, use a safety harness and wear protective head-gear.
  • Keep a cover on the swimming pool when this is not in use; clean the pool when someone else is present.
 

 

 
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