Home Safety

homeSafety

Have you ever fallen during a seizure at home? Making specific changes around the home can significantly reduce such injuries.

  • Carpet the floors, including entranceways and bathrooms, using dense-pile carpet with thick underpadding.
  • Avoid free-standing or table lamps and glass decorations.
  • Whenever possible, sit down when doing household chores or using tools.
  • Avoid smoking, lighting fires or candles when you’re by yourself.
  • Keep floors clear of clutter and tie up dangling electrical cords.
  • Avoid climbing up on chairs or ladders, especially when alone. Put safety gates at the top of steep stairs.
  • Securely lock outside doors if you tend to wander during a seizure.
  • If your seizures are very frequent and sudden, consider wearing a helmet with face guard and/or knee or elbow pads, at least when you’re at home alone.

Have you ever had a seizure while cooking? Avoid burns, cuts and other injuries by taking these steps:

  • Use a microwave oven for boiling water and cooking.
  • When using a stove use the back burners as much as possible.
  • Saucepan handles should face the side of back of the stove.
  • Use a stove guard that fits around the side or front of the stove.
  • Use long, heavy duty oven mitts when reaching into a hot oven.
  • Cook when someone else is at home whenever possible.
  • Buy a kettle and iron with an automatic shut off.
  • Avoid knives & slicers, use a blender of food processor, or foods that are pre-cut or already prepared.
  • Consider a wall-mounted or table top ironing board.
  • Use unbreakable dishes to prevent cuts, and cups with lids to prevent burns.
  • Avoid carrying hot food or liquids.
  • When using a dishwasher, ensure that knives and other sharp utensils have their blades pointed downwards and are placed safely out of the way.
  • Wear rubber gloves when washing glassware or handling knives.

Have you ever had a seizure in the bathtub? Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk of injury or drowning.

  • Take showers rather than baths.
  • Routinely check that the bathroom drain works. Don’t let face cloths or sponges block the drain, allowing the tub to fill with water.
  • Put non-skid strips or a rubber bath mat on the floor of the shower.
  • Shower only when someone else is at home. (singing in the shower will reassure others that you’re doing fine.) Otherwise, take a sponge bath using the sink.
  • Set water thermostat low to prevent scalding. Turn on the cold water first and turn off the hot water first.
  • Be wary of a very hot shower – some people find heat to be a seizure trigger. Keep your bathroom well-ventilated.
  • If you fall frequently during seizures, using a shower/tub seat with a safety strap, a hand-held shower nozzle, and padding the edges of the tub with a folded towel may be helpful.
  • Avoid glass shower doors. Use shatterproof glass for mirrors.
  • Leave the bathroom door unlocked. An “occupied” sign will do the trick.
  • Hang your bathroom door so it opens outwards instead of inwards if you might fall against a closed door.
  • Avoid using hair dryers, electric razors, or other electrical appliances in the bathroom, or near water, or when you’re alone.
  • Consider using a padded toilet seat.

Do you ever get seizures at night?

  • Avoid using hard-edged bed frames or sharp-cornered bedside tables.
  • Avoid top bunks.
  • Avoid potentially suffocating sleeping surfaces, like waterbeds.
  • A monitor in your bedroom may alert others to the sound of a typical seizure.
  • High tech, seizure alarms (eg. Triggered by seizure movements in bed) are now available.

Useful Links

Epilepsy Toronto 2005 ‘safety & epilepsy’ epilepsy matters, volume 1 (issue 3) fall 2000, www.epilepsytoronto.org