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Seniors, children most vulnerable to staircase accidents

Falls can affect people young or old. The two most common groups for staircase falls are adults over age 85 and children under three years old. Staircase falls injure over 1 million people per day in the U.S., posing a significant concern for all age groups.

Stair-related falls are dangerous because it can be difficult to stop or protect yourself during a fall. This is partially because most injuries involve descent though ascent falls are also dangerous. The aftermath can include brain trauma or broken bones. These injuries can be harmful to young children and seniors.

Protecting yourself and your family at home

There are many things you can do in your home to reduce the chance for staircase accidents. Not only is this true for you and your family but any guests you host. Here are a few practical steps you can take to enhance the safety of your home:

  • Clear the clutter. Clutter can include things like area rugs that slide or create tripping hazards if the rug bunches up. Talk to your family about keeping stairways clear of clutter and toys as these are potential tripping hazards.
  • Safeguard your kids. Teaching your children not to play near the stairs and putting up a gate are two great ways to prevent an accident. Educating them on how to use the handrails and not run are also good lessons.
  • Maintain staircases. A faulty stair or handrail can leave you vulnerable to a stair-related accident. It’s best to take care of needed repairs as soon as possible.

Landlords must stay up to code

The U.S. government has many regulations for keeping staircases up to standard. These regulations are specific down to the millimeter so that steps aren’t too high or too low, creating a possible tripping hazard.

There are also regulations for when a staircase must have one handrail, two handrails or a central handrail. Another focal point is visibility. Certain staircases require contrasting tread for steps as well as a certain amount of lighting. This ideally creates a clear path up and down the stairs.

The government expects landlords to keep their property up to regulation to protect the safety of tenants and visitors. Proper maintenance of staircases is just one part of keeping up to code.

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