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Staying safe at home when living with epilepsy

In order to stay safe when living with epilepsy it is important to be aware of some potential dangers that one might encounter.  Even at home there might be risks for injury which are important to know about so you can make sure these are addressed.  Some of the typical risks that can be found in the "safety of your home" involve falls and drops, and dangers around water, heat, and electricity.  The kitchen, bathroom, and even bedroom and living room can all be safe-proofed in important ways.  And once those safety items and ideas are in place, you can gain greater peace of mind.

Let's start with the Kitchen

Risky things you might encounter in the kitchen include fire, hot foods, breakable items that can shatter, sharp tools, and falls against hard objects.  

So, one of the best ways to avoid getting burned is to use a microwave instead of an open flame or a roasting oven.  But sometimes cooking requires using a burner and if that is the case, it is best to make sure the cooking pot is placed on the back burner.  You might also want to choose to purchase an electric stove instead of one with gas and flames. This will help avoid falling on the burner during a seizure or otherwise burning yourself. And if you need to use an oven, it is a good idea to have someone at home with you.

You should also be careful when carrying hot food items which is why it is recommended that you serve the food onto your plate and carry that to the table rather than carrying the whole pot or pan to the table to serve a meal. If you happen to have a seizure, you might hurt yourself if the large pot of hot food spills on you.  If you have frequent seizures, it might make sense to have unbreakable dishes and glasses so that in case you fall, they will not shatter and you won't cut yourself.

If you are alone in the kitchen, it might be a good idea to use a food processor to chop things up instead of using a sharp knife because during a seizure, knives can represent a real danger. Alternatively, you might decide to buy prepared meals or order in (more and more there are some healthy options that are not all that pricey).

Since we are on the topic of fires, let's also talk "fireplaces."  You should always make sure you have a screen in front of the fire. And as for some of those radiators that can become boiling hot, always make sure to install a safety cover.

Dining room: 

A good rule of thumb to have when it comes to all furniture in the house, including your dining room table and chairs, is to cover sharp edges and corners with some sort of padding. It is also probably best to not have glass tabletops.  If you are at risk of having a seizure in which you lose tone and might hit your face on the table, you may want to use a safety pad that is placed on the table in front of you. This is one product that was designed with this in mind (  It might prove helpful also to sit on a chair that has armrests; these could help prevent falling onto the floor. 

As for the floor, it is usually better to have plush carpeting than exposed hardwood floors for obvious reasons. Make sure heavy furniture and big electronics (flat screen TVs, speakers, etc.) are securely attached to the walls to avoid having these fall on you.

Bathroom safety

Did you know that the majority of falls occur in the bathroom regardless of whether you have epilepsy or not? If you then consider the dangers of the bathroom for someone with epilepsy, the risks increase.  Some of the reasons to be especially concerned about bathrooms are that they tend to have hard ceramic and metal edges, often they are a bit cramped, there is water involved and usually, the person using the bathroom wants to be alone for privacy's sake. 

So, just like we said for the rest of the furniture in the house, if there are hard, potentially dangerous edges, consider covering them with padding. 

Also, there are ways to respect privacy issues while still being safe.  One easy one is to not lock the door but instead either use a sign that says "Occupied" like they have in public restrooms or just agree to hang something visibly from the doorknob (e.g. a scarf) when you are inside.  Not locking the door is really important because if you happen to have a seizure and the door is locked, someone trying to help you won't be able to come in.  Another really important suggestion is to make sure the door opens towards the outside of the bathroom because if you fall and are blocking the door with your body, it will still be possible to open it easily since it swings out.

You should choose showers (and make sure the drain is working well so water doesn't accumulate) over bathtubs. The reason for this is that if you have a seizure while taking a bath, you could slip under the water and drowning might ensue.  You should also choose a shower curtain over a glass door because like we said before, best to avoid glass that can shatter.  And always a good idea, make sure to take care of all slippery areas (with skid-free strips or rug on the shower floor, and tub rails and safety bars on the walls).  You may also add a little stool to your shower so you can sit while showering.

And now an especially important tip: make sure the boiler is set at a moderate water temperature to avoid scalding yourself in the event of a seizure.    


If you have nocturnal seizures and are at risk of falling out, you may choose to have a low bed or a futon. It makes sense to have a thick carpet around the bed and move any large, heavy furniture away from the bed.  Also make sure you don't have tons of pillows on the bed to avoid the risk of suffocating on them.  There are also some special pillows that are designed to assure a greater degree of safety for those having seizures while sleeping, such as the Sleep Safe Pillow (  If you live with someone else who sleeps in another bedroom, you may also want to have a baby monitor in your room so others can hear if you are having a seizure and can come in to assist you.

Finally, some seizure alerting products have been marketed in recent years including wearable seizure detection devices Embrace®: 


Remember, if there are certain steps you can take to avoid injuries and danger, take the time to put them in place to avoid later upsets.  


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