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