About Epilepsy > Epilepsy Safety > Home Safety
Taking some simple but important precautious at home can save your life.
If you live alone, have a “buddy system” if you need to be checked on. Pre-program your phone to your emergency contact numbers. A subscription to a Lifeline® Personal Help Button (1-800-387-1215) gives you push button contact with a “responder” from your home.
Have you ever had a seizure in the bathtub? Here’s what you can do to reduce your 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 get seizures at night? Here are some helpful tips on avoiding injury:
- Avoid using hard-edged bed frames or sharp-cornered bedside tables.
- Avoid top bunks.
- Avoid potentially suffocating sleeping surfaces, like waterbeds.
- If a pillow causes concern, discard it or use a smotherproof’ (‘egg carton’ foam) pillow.
- A monitor in your bedroom may alert others to the sound of a typical seizure.
- High tech, seizure-specific alarms (eg. triggered by seizure movements in bed and wired to a telephone autodialler) are now available (from the British company Aremco at phone number 011 44 1622 858502).
Interested in investigating more ‘high tech’ safety devices (like an electronic tracking device to find a person who tends to wander off, or an adapted shower that uses infra-red technology to shut the water supply off when a person falls)? You can also find “adaptive technology” through the disability website www.indie.ca.
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 or 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, etc. Use a blender or 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.