Slips and falls may seem like a fact of life during the winter months for those of us who live in the colder climates. I’d imagine there’s more than a few of us who’ve gone down the front steps of our house on our rear-end, or slipped getting into or out of our car, if we live in an area where snow and ice are regular occurrences. But while they may seem inevitable, there are a few things we can do to help keep those falls and the resultant bumps, bruises, and maybe even fractures, to a minimum.
An article on www.tmac.org (“Slips and Trips and Falls – Oh MY!”), offers some good advice. The article is geared toward safety in the workplace, but many of the suggestions can be helpful at home as well.
Here are a few of them…
- Watch the weather, and have sand, salt, and/or some type of ice melt on hand before the footing becomes bad.
- Wear appropriate shoes. Non-skid shoes are the best choice, but at least stay away from shoes with slick, smooth or worn-out soles. High heels are a dangerous choice as well.
- Be sure to keep inside floors dry – as snow gets tracked inside and melts, floors (especially tile ones) become very slippery. Mats inside and outside can be helpful.
- When out and about, heed warning cones/signs and watch for wet floors inside.
Purdue University also published an article on how to avoid slips and falls during the winter (“Winter Walking: Tips to Avoid Slip and Fall Injuries”).
They offer a few more pieces of advice, such as:
- Purchase over-the-shoe ice cleats. (Be sure to take them off before going inside as they can be very slippery on tile floors.)
- Stick with walking areas that have been cleared, and avoid shortcuts that haven’t.
- Use elevators and/or tunnels whenever possible, even if it takes a little longer.
- Slow down and take shorter steps.
- Avoid carrying heavy or awkward loads, and use shoulder straps on bags and back packs to keep hands free for balance or handrail use.
- Wear gloves to avoid having to put your hands in your pockets – this will also help with balance.
Lastly, I’ve found a couple of things helpful:
- Ashes from a fireplace make a good last resort if there’s no salt or sand available, but they do make a mess as they get tracked inside.
- A boot tray inside the door is helpful to keep water off the floor, as snow and ice melts off shoes and boots.
- Be aware of areas where ice may build-up, such as spots where moisture drips off the roof as the snow melts.
Walking can be a challenge during the winter months, but by being aware of our surroundings, wearing appropriate footwear, and slowing down and keeping our hands free for balance, we can possibly make winter walking a little less dangerous.
Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff WriterSharing is Caring!