We don’t need to tell you twice: the coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives. We’re spending more time at home and only encouraged to go out to pick up the essentials.
And while most of us have realized the importance of practicing social distancing and staying at home, we might not recognize that this practice can put us at increased risk for injury.
Spending more time and playing with the kids can be fun, but have a word with yourself about the risks of getting injured at home. The adjustment to a different routine and a full house can cause us to forget about the hazards that are right in front of us. On average, 40% of injuries requiring hospitalization or emergency department care happen in the home. In fact, injuries are a leading cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among all British Columbians aged 1 to 44.
Common injuries that occur in the home include falls, burns, poisoning, strangulation, choking, and drowning1,2—maybe you forgot to move your bag from the stairs, a window was left open, or you didn’t put your medication back in the cupboard.
So, use this extra time at home to be mindful of preventing household injuries. No one wants to visit the emergency room for a preventable injury. Of course, we’re not saying you shouldn’t go to the emergency department at all—hospitals are safe right now, and if you need to go, go—just consider if it is really necessary to do so. And if you’re not sure, you can always call 8-1-1 or your family doctor. Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s time to get serious about preventing injuries at home.3
We’re using this extra time at home to pick up that new hobby, to learn something new, but also to reflect on our attitudes—both towards preventing serious injuries, as well as how we can be supportive and follow the advice of health professionals during this difficult time. We are all in this together.
1 Parachute. Home Safety. Accessed from: https://parachute.ca/en/injury-topic/home-safety/
2 Be Smart, Don’t Choke. Accessed from: https://dontchoke.ubc.ca/
3 BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. Adjusting to a new pace of live during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accessed from: https://www.injuryresearch.bc.ca/adjusting-to-a-new-pace-of-life-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/