Preventing falls in the winter weather
The number of injuries that occur from slips and falls tend to increase during the winter season. With icy and snowy conditions, you’re more likely to get hurt if you’re not careful. Even if you are being careful, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s important to know the simple steps you can take to prevent falls and harmful incidences, especially for older adults and adults with disabilities.
- Wear proper shoes when walking outside. Try to wear boots with deep cleats or shoes with rubber soles to increase traction when walking. Be sure to inspect the soles of your current winter shoes and replace them if they are worn.
- Take smaller and slower steps. There may be layers of ice underneath the snow. So be sure to take small, slow steps whenever walking outside. You may even want to shuffle your feet to avoid losing balance and falling.
- Take a step aside from icy sidewalks. If a path looks too icy, try and walk on the ground next to it or take a path that is more directly in the sunlight. Avoid ice routes as much as possible.
- Don’t put your hands in your pockets. Instead of keeping your hands in your pockets to stay warm, wear gloves and walk with both hands free. This will help you control you balance, as well as catch your balance when you do slip.
- Always think “three.” Whenever you are outdoors, always remember to keep at least three points of contact for stability (if possible): both feet on the ground and a hand gripping onto something or both hands gripped with one foot on the ground.
- Clean off your shoes when entering buildings. Be sure to shake the snow and ice off your feet as soon as you enter your home or a building. Wet shoes can create wet floors, which can put you and others in danger of slipping.
Stay safe this winter season by taking the steps necessary to prevent slips, trips and falls. If you or a loved one experiences a harmful fall, be sure to see a physician as soon as possible. Should you require additional therapy and short-term rehabilitation, ask to be referred to the comprehensive rehabilitation program at Straith Hospital. We’ve got a team ready to help you gain your strength back, so you can return home independently.