This is National Public Health Week and this year’s theme is “Safety is no accident: live injury-free.”
Everyone can improve their daily habits to help safeguard ourselves, our families and friends. Here are some suggestions for keeping yourself and those around you happy and healthy.
When at home, prevent injuries by following these examples:
• Assess your home for potential hazards, such as poor lighting and uneven surfaces, to prevent falls.
• Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
• Establish a plan for how you would evacuate from your home in an emergency.
• Make sure all electrical outlets are covered.
• Supervise young children whenever they’re near cooking surfaces and never leave food unattended on the stove.
• Program emergency numbers into your phone so you can quickly access them.
• Install four-sided isolation fencing that is at least five feet high and equipped with self-latching gates to prevent drownings in pools.
• Store cleaning supplies and medicines in locked cabinets out of the reach of kids.
• Check your hot-water heater periodically and adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid burns.
When at play, protect yourself, your family and community by following these tips:
• Wear a helmet and other properly fitted protective gear.
• Use proper form and accept your body’s limits.
• Have a physical before starting a new sport and warm-up each time before beginning.
• Strictly enforce rules that prevent injury.
• Monitor children while they are at play.
• Drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
• Educate coaches on how to ensure the health and safety of youth athletes.
At work, employers and employees can work together to build safer and healthier work environments by following these examples:
• Understand and follow all workplace-safety regulations and best practices. Go beyond the minimum required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
• Educate employees about workplace regulations and train employees to recognize unsafe or unhealthy settings.
• Provide required or recommended protective equipment and reflective gear.
• Identify and fix workplace hazards such as unstable surfaces and malfunctioning vehicles.
• Maintain a working sprinkler system and schedule fire drills to practice evacuation.
• Conduct personal safety training programs.
• Invite health-care professionals to the workplace to discuss how to prevent injuries.
When traveling, follow these guidelines to stay safe:
• Always wear a seat belt.
• Make sure children are buckled up in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt.
• Be mindful of the environment, be cautious when crossing the road, use sidewalks and avoid jaywalking.
• Walk facing traffic and make yourself visible when walking at night.
• Wear a helmet and reflective gear when on a bike, skateboard or scooter.
• Avoid texting, eating, using the phone or grooming while driving.
• Be a designated driver. Don’t drink and drive, let others drink and drive, or get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.
• Avoiding driving when you are tired.
• Discuss your rules of the road and ask your teenager to avoid speeding, texting and having multiple passengers while driving.
In your community, prevent injury and violence by:
• Joining your neighborhood watch program.
• Working with school leaders to implement anti-school violence and bullying programs.
• Keeping weapons in a locked and safe place.
• Calling the police or local child protective services if you suspect an older adult has been abused or a child neglected.
Please help raise awareness of safety and injury prevention during National Public Health Week. Let’s make our communities safer and healthier places to live.
This information was taken from the American Public Health Association website: www.npha.org.
Ratcliffe is a consultant to the Coastal Health District. You can call her at 876-6399.