Be Alert to Safety Hazards

By Kristine Hartvigsen on June 1st, 2017

Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
—William Shakespeare

Without careful direction and planning, it can be easy to get lost in the weeds. Perhaps this is what Shakespeare meant when he wrote the line above. Imagine the weeds are the safety risks that surround you daily. How do you stay out of the rough?

June is National Safety Month, created to raise awareness about preventing accidents by managing common safety and health risks. Here are some tips for keeping safe.

Prevent Accidental Falls

  • Identify tripping or falling hazards such as boxes, clutter, loose wires, standing water, and even open drawers obstructing walkways. Promptly remove these hazards. When possible, place non-skid area rugs or mats in slip-prone areas.
  • When using a ladder, be careful to place the ladder on a firm, level surface. If possible, have a helper hold the base of the ladder for you. Wear slip-resistant shoes, and avoid stepping on the top three rungs of the ladder.
  • Pregnant women, especially in the third trimester, may be vulnerable to falls because their weight has changed and center of gravity shifted. There should be little cause for alarm after a minor fall unless there is pain, bleeding, contractions, or the baby stops moving. In such instances, women should seek immediate medical attention.

Around the House

  • To prevent accidental fires, never leave candles or cooking materials unattended. Avoid overloading electrical outlets, and unplug small appliances when they are not in use. Teach children not to play with matches or lighters. Keep space heaters far away from drapes, clothing, or bedding.
  • Test smoke alarms regularly to ensure they’re working properly. Create a fire escape plan from every room in your home.
  • Be on the lookout for choking hazards around the house, such as button batteries, loose coins, toys with small detachable parts, uninflated balloons, or bottle caps.
  • Don’t allow children to climb on furniture or play near stairs or open windows. Where appropriate, install window guards. Keep babies strapped in to high chairs, infant carriers, swings, or strollers. Secure bookcases and large television sets to the wall so they are not at risk of toppling over.
  • Store cleaning products and household chemicals where children can’t access them. This includes the colorful liquid laundry or dishwasher detergent packets. Dietary supplements and medications also should be stored out of reach. Keep your local poison control number handy.
  • Never leave young children unattended around water, including the bathtub. Empty containers, buckets, and wading pools after use and store them upside down.
  • Store any guns unloaded in a locked cabinet, out of reach and out of sight of children. Store and lock up all ammunition someplace separate from where the guns are kept.

At Work

  • Make sure your workspace is ergonomically sound. Check the height of your chair and adjust or add lumbar support if needed. Take frequent breaks to stand, stretch your legs, and refocus your eyes to distant points.
  • If you are required to lift heavy things at work, be sure to wear a back-support belt and lift with your legs, not your back.
  • If there is a lot of loud noise on the job, consider using earplugs to protect against hearing loss.
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid infecting others. Follow hygiene protocols such as proper hand-washing. Disinfect shared work items between uses.
  • Learn CPR. Many employers offer CPR training for employees.

On the Go

  • Either at home or traveling, keep doors and windows locked. Know who is at the door before opening it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Have your keys handy as you approach your car. Check under the vehicle as well as the backseat and floor before getting in. As soon as you get in your car, lock all doors and windows. After dark, park in well-lit areas.
  • Be sure to wear your seatbelt. If you’re pregnant, wear your seatbelt positioned low on the hipbones, below your belly.
  • If someone attempts to rob you, let them have what they want. Putting up a struggle can result in injury or even death. No purse or wallet is worth your life.
  • If you’re pregnant, the best time to travel is during the second trimester, because you’ll be more comfortable and this is the time of lowest risk. Schedule a checkup with your doctor before traveling.
  • While flying, try to get an aisle seat so you can get up easily to visit the bathroom or just to stretch your legs. Try to get up and move around every hour to help prevent blood clots. Bring prenatal vitamins and medications in your purse or carry-on. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • If on a cruise ship, be wary of touching common surfaces such as food buffets and railings that can harbor highly contagious noroviruses. If you are prone to nausea, ask your doctor to prescribe an anti-nausea medication to take with you.

Safety is as simple as ABC — Always Be Careful. Have a safe and enjoyable summer.

This blog provides general information and discussion about healthcare-related subjects. The content and linked materials provided are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader is an expectant mother with a medical concern, she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or healthcare provider.


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