First Aid

Keep Yourself Safe Through the Teachings of Our Lord

Presumably, when you had your quiet time/family devotion this morning

One of the requests you made to God was for your safety throughout the day. Of course, there is nothing wrong with praying and believing God for maximum protection over our lives and property. In fact, without relying on God for safety at all times, the unthinkable may happen when we least expect it (Psalm 127: 1).

But most times, we fail to realize that even the scripture affirms, "faith without works is dead (meaningless and unprofitable)" (James 2:20). And this implies that faith alone can neither solve all of life's problems nor provide us with everything we need. There are some basic steps that we must take to fully enjoy all the blessings the Lord has promised us—and these include our protection and safety within the home environment.

Many today feel so comfortable and secure in their homes

That they ignore basic safety rules and precautions. Worse still, such inexcusable neglect often happens in homes that harbor not only strong and energetic adults but also children and elderly people who are quite vulnerable. And the results? Avoidable domestic accidents, some of which could be life-threatening!

Taking steps to learn and adhere to home safety precautions will prevent a lot of physical, psychological, and financial damage. Helpful home safety tips from various experts in home management have been carefully compiled here to make our homes safer. Please, take time to go through them and make every necessary adjustment in your home.

  1. Ensure that pieces of furniture are positioned out of the range of mobility. Place them in "low-traffic" areas such as corners and sections of the room.
  2. Furniture should be stable, not wobbly.
  3. As much as possible, choice of furniture items should exclude those with sharp edges and corners. This will reduce chances of injury.
  4. Shelves should be low enough to avoid using a stepstool.
  5. Sofas, armchairs, double-sitters, and tables that have broken parts or getting dilapidated should be removed or repaired. This also applies to leaking roofs, broken windows, doors, steps, damaged floors, and falling ceilings.
  6. All stairs, whether inside or outside the house, require stable handrails.
  1. Lighting levels should be fairly consistent throughout the home. Individuals find it difficult to focus when they move from light to dark areas and vice versa, especially those with vision impairments.
  2. Ensure there are several night-lights throughout the house, especially near bedrooms, bathrooms, stairways, and entrances.
  3. Keep torches/flashlights handy in case of power failure. Keep one in the bedroom (preferably near the bed) and other areas where the most time is spent. Check to ensure batteries are in good condition. Avoid candles as much as possible.
  1. Keep extension cords in a hidden place (such as behind furniture) to prevent tripping and falling.
  2. Ensure that furniture legs are not placed on electrical cords or cables as this may wear them down, resulting in electrical shock.
  3. Avoid placing cables and cords in 'high traffic areas' or under carpet/rug, as this could also make them wear out.
  4. Check cables and cords regularly for any signs of wear and tear.

Because of its often-cramped space and slippery surfaces, the bathroom ranks as the most likely area of a household where a person may fall. Children, elderly people, or people with mobility problems are especially at risk. Therefore,

  1. Never leave a little child unattended in a bath.
  2. Where a child is beginning to learn to bath himself/herself, always remain within arm’s reach. A child may stand in the bath and then slip, resulting in serious injuries.
  3. Ensure that any medication, soaps, detergent, bathroom cleaning supplies, and other harmful substances are carefully stored out of the reach of children.
  4. Place non-skid adhesive strips in the bathtub; shower stalls and on the bathroom floor to prevent falls.
  5. Ensure that safety products, such as grip or grab bars, are installed in bathtubs and by the toilet.
  6. Keep water heater set to 1200F or lower.
  7. Never touch any electric appliances when bathing (children should also know)
  8. Store bathroom electric appliances, such as hair dryers, away from water.
  9. To help individuals with mobility problems, get tub seats. Tub seats allow people in wheelchairs and those with minimal strength in their arms and legs to maneuver into the tub/shower area.
  1. Always dress for fire safety in the kitchen. Avoid loose clothing such as nightgowns or bathrobes.
  2. Regularly clean any grease build-up from the stove, oven, and exhaust fan. Cooking grease and oil ignite easily and burn rapidly.
  3. Never leave your cooking unattended. If you must leave the kitchen for some unavoidable reasons, lower the heat and take something with you as a reminder that you have something cooking.
  4. While cooking, keep your pot's handle turned inward in such a way that small children or pets will not grab it out of curiosity. Also, ensure to keep sharp utensils out of their reach. Note however that it is much better to keep young children and pets away from the kitchen entirely.
  5. Keep all flammable objects, such as towels, potholders, hand gloves, and paper bags away from the stove. If the stove is near a window, avoid the use of draperies for such window. Install mini blinds in place of curtains as curtains may catch fire easily with the stove below them.
  6. To prevent burns, use clean kitchen—safety gloves when taking items in or out of the oven, or when removing cooking from the stove. Never use gloves that have soaked up oil or water; while the former has greater potential to catch fire, the latter easily transmit heat.
  7. Shield yourself from steam when uncovering food, especially microwave servings. Steam can cause severe burns!
  8. Avoid reaching over the stove for anything while cooking. Keep frequently needed items in other areas of the kitchen.
  9. In case of a stovetop fire, cover the pot or pan with a lid or bigger pan to deprive the fire of oxygen. This will douse the fire in no time. Be careful not to carry a burning pot outside or to the sink. This could escalate the fire. And never attempt to extinguish an oil-fire with water, because the oil will float on the water and the fire will get bigger. Keep a lid, baking soda, or fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen. When looking for a fire extinguisher to keep at home, make sure the fire extinguisher is made in such a way that it can douse oil-fires.

We certainly cannot deny the fact that there are several useful but hazardous substances and materials in our homes. Laundry soaps and detergent, medications, polishes, sprays, kerosene, etc. are vital substances needed in the home, but are fatally poisonous when ingested.

Little children, especially toddlers and those still crawling, tend to put whatever they lay their hands on into their mouths. Thus there's need to take to these precautions to prevent accidental poisoning:

  1. Keep all hazardous materials under lock, or where little children cannot reach.
  2. Store medications in locked medicine boxes.
  3. Be careful with house-cleaning chemicals like disinfectants and insecticides. Use them as directed by the manufacturers. Allow for sufficient ventilation to minimize toxic fumes from the chemicals. And never attempt to mix different cleaning chemicals together - it could lead to deadly chemical reactions.
  4. Keep toxic chemicals firmly closed when you carry them around and recap tightly after each use. Don't leave them on the table or floor even if you just want to leave the room for a few minutes.
  5. Beware of spray products especially—they are very appealing to kids but harmful to the eyes and mucous membranes!
  6. As much as possible, buy products labeled 'non-toxic.’

Home Safety Checklist

Especially for the sake of children in the home, the Home Safety Council has published a home safety checklist, which is to act as a guide in keeping your family safe from domestic accidents. The checklist includes:

  • Have you tested your hot water and turned the temperature of your water heater down to 120oF or lower to reduce the risk of burns and scalds?
  • Have your older children memorized your address and phone number (in case of emergency)?
  • Do you have a first-aid kit that is easily accessible and stocked with emergency items? (This will be discussed in details below)
  • Does your family practice a home fire escape plan at least twice a year?
  • Are all matches and lighters secured in a locked cabinet?
  • Are dangerous household items, such as medicines, toxic bleaches, oven and drain cleaners, paint solvents, polishes and waxes safely stored in a locked cabinet?
  • Do dangerous household and outside products have child-resistant packaging?
  • Do you keep all plastic wrapping materials, including dry-cleaning bags, produce bags, and trash bags, away from children?
  • Are you careful not to hang pictures, quilts, or decorations containing ribbon or string on over a crib?
  • Have you examined nursery furnishings to be sure they are strong and secure?
  • Have you placed furniture, including cribs and playpens, away from windows to prevent falls?

There may be additional safety needs in your home depending on its age, location, design, and other features. Inspect your home regularly and add any precautions necessary to make your home accident-free!

And What About First Aid?

First aid is a collection of some basic medical items that can be used during emergencies in the home, office, or any other accident-prone area. Many avoidable fatalities have occurred, either due to ignorance of what first aid is or due to ignorance of the contents and their functions.

Thus, every parent—especially mothers—must make it an obligation to get a first aid kit in the home and study the uses of each item in it, so as to properly handle emergencies. Basic items to include in your first aid kit are:

  • First aid manual.
  • Bandages of assorted types - for minor cuts and grazes.
  • Triangular bandages - for use as a sling to support an injured arm or shoulder.
  • Elastic wraps - to wrap wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries.
  • Sterile, non-fluffy, absorbent gauze pads in two - and four-inch sizes - for larger cuts and grazes.
  • Adhesive tape - to keep gauze in place.
  • Scissors - to cut tape, gauze, or clothes.
  • Safety pins in variety of sizes - to fasten splints and bandages.
  • Antiseptic wipes (alcohol-free) - to disinfect wounds or clean hands.
  • Cold packs - for icing injuries.
  • Tweezers - for removing splinters, foreign objects, ticks, bee stingers.
  • Rubber gloves - to protect hands and reduce the risk of infection when treating open wounds.
  • A thermometer (preferably digital and not one containing mercury as this can be hazardous if damaged).
  • Petroleum jelly.
  • Calamine lotion.
  • Hydrocortisone cream—to relieve irritation from rashes.
  • 12 - 24 individually wrapped plasters in various sizes (fabric or waterproof).
  • Antihistamine cream - for insect bites (do not use on broken or infected skin).
  • Antihistamine tablets such as chlorpheniramine (e.g. Piriton) - for allergic reactions.
  • Paracetamol and acetaminophen/ibuprofen for pain relief (tablets for adults, liquid for children).
  • Emergency foil blanket.
  • Torch/flashlight.