According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 people are hospitalized each year for treatment for fall-related injuries, with one in five of these falls resulting in a serious injury, such as a head wound or a broken limb. Many of these incidents involve falls down staircases, which are particularly problematic among children and elderly populations. So, what can you do to enhance safety around your home, protect your family and friends and avoid a potential lawsuit in the event that someone gets seriously injured? Here’s an overview of how to enhance staircase safety around the home, courtesy of the crew at StairMaterials.com.

The Handrail – Use It

The handrail is there for a reason, but it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t actually use it. The point of the handrail is to improve your balance and give you hand-holds you can use to steady yourself, so use it every time you climb or descend your stairs, and encourage everyone else in your home to do the same.

Additional Staircase Safety Tips

Improve safety even further by following these guidelines around stairs.

• Take one stair at a time – don’t try and skip or jump any.
• Walk up and down the stairs – don’t run.
• Avoid carrying particularly strong or awkwardly shaped items up or down the stairs without help.
• Try and keep one hand free when climbing or descending the stairs to catch you in the event of a fall.
• Apply salt to slippery outdoor stairs to help melt ice and prevent falls.

Not all falls down staircases result in serious injuries, but injuries that can occur range in severity from minor to life-threatening. Head injuries and broken bones are common results of staircase falls, and both can prove especially troublesome when they affect older people who may, for example, take blood-thinning prescription medications or already suffer from particularly brittle bones. In closing, the best way to avoid an unfortunate accident occurring on your own stairs is to install a strong, sturdy handrail and remind everyone to use it.