If You're Over 65, Make Sure Your Bed Doesn't Have This, Experts Warn
SOMETHING THAT'S SUPPOSED TO KEEP YOU SAFE COULD ACTUALLY BE DANGEROUS.
Although Americans over the age of 65 make up just 16 percent of the country's population, they account for 71 percent of consumer product-related deaths annually. And while everyday household products can potentially present life-threatening risks to people of any age, such injuries send millions of adults over 65 to the hospital each year.
According to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly three million older adults visit the emergency room annually due to injuries related to household products, which are also associated with approximately 3,800 reports of older adult deaths every year.
The good news is, there are plenty of measures we can take to improve safety in our homes. For people who are over 65, one of them has to do with something that may be in the bedroom. Read on to find out which product poses a danger, and how to keep yourself (and your loved ones!) safe at home.
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Portable bed rails meant to protect seniors can pose a risk.
Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images
Although people install bed rails as a measure of protection against falls, some adult portable bed rails may actually be a hazard. According to the report, bed rails are involved in about 16 deaths per year of people 65 and older. "Unfortunately, too many bed rails do not meet safety standards and create an entrapment risk, resulting in suffocation," the CPSC report says. This can happen in a variety of ways: Victims can get wedged between the mattress and the bed rail, stuck between bed rail bars, or trapped between a dresser and the bed rail.
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Check to make sure your bed rails are not subject to a recall.
If you want to use bed rails to prevent a nighttime fall, you can—you'll just want to make sure the ones you're using are safe. Check any portable adult bed rails you may already have in your home to make sure they haven't been recalled, and if they have, stop using them immediately. If you're in the market for new ones, look for bed rails that meet the standards put forth by the ASTM (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials).
Falls are the number one cause of injury and death for older Americans.
Every year, an average of 1,800 older adults die from falls—and a whopping 1.5 million fall-related injuries are treated in emergency rooms. Falls typically occur on floors, stairs, steps, and from beds.
Older adults are six times more likely to be treated at the emergency department as a result of a fall on flooring than younger people, and the report notes that falls are by far the most common product-related cause of injuries and deaths to older Americans. Making sure that any portable bed rails you use are up to standard can help ensure that your bed is a fall-free space, so you can slumber safely.
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Here's how to help fall-proof your home.
eyenigelen / iStock
Seniors can take an array of additional steps to protect themselves from falls at home. The measures recommended in the report include installing handrails on both sides of any stairs at home, keeping stairs well-lit and free of clutter, gripping handrails when using stairs, keeping floors clear and slip-resistant, and removing loose carpets, cords, and any other tripping hazards.
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