Like many people with epilepsy and their families, you may have concerns about your safety when you have a seizure. Seizures can put you at risk of accidents that can cause: bruises, burns and scalds, cuts, drowning, fractures and head injuries. It is very important that you are aware of these risks. This is because many of them can be prevented or reduced with a few, often simple, measures. This information has suggestions for ways you can make sure you are safer if you have a seizure.
Safety around the house
- Use a fire guard that is fixed to the wall, so it won’t move out of place if you fall on it.
- Put free-standing heaters in places where they are least likely to be knocked over
- Use a sensor hairdryer that turns itself off when it is put down
- Don’t use heated fireguard if you are alone – this includes hair dryers, irons, hair straighteners and curling tongs
- Avoid having very hard floor surfaces – more cushioned flooring, such as carpets, cork and rubber, will provide a softer landing if you fall.
- Put a soft rug or carpet at the bottom of the stairs, to cushion any falls.
- Cover any edges that are sharp or stick out, for example on furniture.
Suggestions for reducing the risk of drowning
If you have seizures, it is important to take extra care when bathing, because there is a risk of drowning during a seizure. In order to reduce the risk of drowning:
- Have a shower instead of a bath – it’s safer because the water runs away.
- Ask somebody to stay in the bathroom with you, or to wait outside the door, so they can hear if you have a seizure.
- Keep the water depth shallow and turn off the taps before you get in, or don’t put the plug in, but sit in the bath with the water running from the taps or a shower attachment.
- Have a shower cubicle with a flat floor rather than a shower tray, so that water can’t collect.
Reducing the risk of cuts, bruises, fractures and head injuries
- Make sure that any fittings are as flush to the wall as possible, to reduce the risk of banging against them if you fall.
- Have a separate shower cubicle, rather than a shower attachment over the bath.
- Use a shower screen made of plastic or safety glass, or a shower curtain.
- If the shower is over the bath, cover the taps with protective material, such as a thick towel, to avoid injury if you fall.
- If possible, sit down in the shower rather than stand up, to avoid injuries if you fall In the kitchen.
Suggestions for reducing the risk of burns and scalds
- Use a microwave rather than a gas or electric cooker.
- Place saucepans on the back burners and with the handles away from the edge of the cooker, so you can’t knock them over.
- Take plates or dishes to the cooker, rather than carrying hot pans to the table.
- Use a toaster instead of a grill to avoid the risk of burning food.
- Use kettle tippers and teapot pourers, to avoid the risk of spilling hot liquid.
In the bedroom
In order to make your bedroom safer:
- avoid putting your bed next to a radiator or against a wall to prevent knocking your limbs.
- Put cushions, pillows or a mattress on the floor around the bed, to reduce injuries if you fall out of bed.
- Choose a low bed, so there is less distance to fall to the floor.
- Keep sharp-edged objects and furniture away from the bed.
Sport and Leisure
Most sport and leisure activities are possible for people with epilepsy, as long as common sense precautions are taken, where relevant. Sports on or near water, or at heights, may need extra safety measures or supervision.
Information is taken from Epilepsy Action https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/
You can read more about how to live well with Epilepsy by downloading the following PDF brochures;