No, right in your own home.
That's right, more injuries occur at home than in any other battlefield
around the world. The death several years ago of a Durango child by strangling on a curtain cord vividly illustrated
The kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in the house, but that's
no reason for the husband not to help with the dishes. Burns from splattered grease, cuts from paring knives,
lacerations from a dropped glass, hands ground in the garbage disposal, burns from touching hot pots and pans,
fingers in the electric mixers, oven fires and hitting your head on the open cabinet door! No wonder my wife, Carole,
wants to eat out so often.
The accidental poisoning of children is all too common. If you have small
children, lock up all medicines and remove those poisonous cleaning solutions from under the kitchen sink. Put them
up high and away from little hands and mouths.
The workshop in the garage is a good source of injury and resulting income
for the emergency room doctors. Don't use that Skil saw if you've been drinking; a split-second mistake will cost you
a finger or more. Wear glasses when you are drilling or sawing and you could save your eyes. A smashed finger from a
hammer will hurt for several days, but fortunately the injury is usually mild.
Gunshot injuries are always tragic and frequently fatal. Far more people
are killed at home by gunshot accidents than are killed by burglars. If you must have a gun at home, be sure that it
is not loaded and keep the ammunition safely locked up. Don't leave the key where the kids can find it, or you will
be asking for a tragedy.
Stepping on a needle in the rug is not fun, nor is a fall from a broken
ladder. Using gasoline to start the barbecue and smoking in bed are sure ways to spend some time in a hospital bed
recovering from second- and third-degree burns. Moving furniture without adequate help can put your back out of
commission for several weeks.
Snowblower and lawn mower accidents are always devastating and always
preventable. There are three types of injuries: to the fingers and toes, and from flying objects. The skin on the
back of my neck crawls every time I hear of someone reaching under a lawn mower to dislodge clumps of grass or not
turning off the snowblower to dislodge the packed, wet snow. Goodbye fingers! Always turn off the engine before
cleaning the blade!
When someone mows the grass on a hillside while wearing sandals, goodbye
toes! Always wear protective shoes. Rocks and pieces of metal thrown by the blade of a mower are as dangerous as
bullets and can cause serious injuries to anyone standing in the line of fire. Keep your lawn raked and free of those
All of these accidents and injuries can be prevented. Some require locking
up the medicines and ammunition now. Others can be prevented by "thinking before you act." Remember, "Be it
ever so dangerous, there's no place like home."
Dr. John N. Withers is a semi-retired
general surgeon who lives in Durango. The column appeared previously in the Herald.