According to the Home Safety Council’s national report on home injuries, the State of Home Safety in America™ (2004), falls accounted for nearly one-third of all unintentional home injury deaths each year. Falls from stairs and steps were the second leading cause of death due to falls. Follow the Home Safety Council’s steps to stairway safety to make your home safer from falls:
- Install bright lights and on/off switches at the top and bottom of each stairwell and over porches and entryways.
- Keep stairways and steps clear of all objects. Never use the stairs as temporary storage or for displaying decorative items.
- Use the handrail. (All stairways and steps, no matter how short, should have handrails on both sides.)
- Check stairs for worn or loose carpeting or protruding carpet tacks. If your steps have a smooth surface, consider installing anti-slip tread to provide safer traction.
- Avoid placing throw rugs at the top or bottom of a stairway as small rugs can slide or the edges can become curled. If it is necessary to put a rug at the bottom of a stairway, make sure it has a skid-resistant backing and use carpet tape to keep the corners from curling.
- If you have steps outside your home, keep them free of ice and snow. To prevent a tripping hazard, periodically check steps and walkways for broken or lose bricks, cement or stone.