Basic home safety is important for everyone, but especially for people with epilepsy. The unpredictable nature of the disease means that seizures may occur at any time, putting epileptics at high risk of injury from falls or loss of balance.

Here are 10 simple tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe at home:

1. Put down carpet, even in bathrooms. Hardwood and tile may be in vogue, but a heavy pile carpet with thick padding underneath will help prevent injury should an epileptic fall. It also will minimize damage from breakables that may be dropped during a seizure.

2. Make sure heated appliances have automatic shutoff mechanisms. Curling irons and clothing irons can start fires if left on continuously.

3. Hang doors so they open outward. If you fall against a door that opens inward, people may not be able to get into the room to help you. Similarly, avoid locking the bathroom door. Instead, hang an "occupied" sign.

4. Avoid filling deep tubs all the way. Bathe in only a few inches of water to avoid drowning, and check drains frequently to make sure they work.

5. Make showers safer. Use a hand-held water nozzle while you sit on a shower seat. If you're prone to seizures in the shower, install a strap that you can fasten across your lap.

6. Minimize the use of the stove. Rely instead on microwaves for cooking, as they will automatically shut off. If you must use the stove, use the back burners.

7. Don't pick up hot food. Place it on a moveable cart when going from one room to another, and slide it along countertops instead of carrying it.

8. Forget sharp knives. Plastic utensils are your best friend when it comes to avoiding kitchen disasters.

9. Avoid sharp edges. If you have tables or other furniture with sharp corners and edges, buy padding specifically to cover them. Baby-supply stores carry them.

10. Make sure chairs have arms. They may prevent you from falling to the floor during a seizure.




Epilepsy Foundation. "Home Safety." Web.