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Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional-injury death, killing more than 19,500 people annually. The Minnesota Safety Council suggests taking the following precautions to avoid falls at home:

Keep traffic areas clear. Be sure people can walk through without walking around or squeezing past obstacles and furniture.

Keep rooms neat. Pick up toys, books, magazines and other clutter from the floor. Wipe up spills immediately.

Install light switches at each end of all stairways and long halls so you aren't forced to walk in the dark. Equip all stairs, even short ones, with secure handrails.

Repair any frayed or worn edges on rugs and other floor coverings. Choose area rugs that have slip-resistant backings.

Run electrical cords along the walls and away from traffic areas. Make sure any exposed cords are taped down securely.

Skid-proof your bathtub or shower stall with a slip-resistant rubber mat or adhesive safety strips or decals. Install grab bars on walls next to tubs and stalls.

Close cabinets and drawers when you're not using them.

Wear well-fitting shoes and slippers with non-skid bottoms.

Use light switches. You can't avoid what you can't see.

Don't carry loads that block your vision. Instead, make several trips with smaller loads.

Use a sturdy step stool or stepladder to reach items on high shelves. Don't climb on countertops, chairs, tables or other pieces of furniture.

Don't hurry. Move deliberately.

National Safety Council

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