Winter Safety Tips
As the temperature drops, the number of slips and falls rise. Winter’s wet and icy conditions are dangerous and it’s important to take the right precautions. Slips and falls during the winter months cause hundreds and thousands of injuries each year in Canada. While it is a threat to children, the adults and elderly have a much longer, harder fall – and are more likely to break things. A simple break or muscle sprain can cause a lot of pain and suffering, and for the elderly it can be life threatening. So in order to ward off any time in the hospital or emergency room take note of these slip and fall prevention tips:
- Wear the right shoes.We see plenty of broken or sprained ankles from women walking in heels on a warm summer day, so in the winter heels would probably be your worst option. Men are not off the hook here either. Men’s dress shoes typically have flat bottoms with no tread. You might as well be walking on sleds. The right footwear should, and is, your best defense against slipping and falling. Try to find something with rubber bottoms with a good thick tread that will grip the snow and ice better.
- Walk like a penguin.When walking on snow and ice take shorter slower steps. You want as much surface area of your feet to be in contact with the ground as possible. If you come across a patch of solid ice, shuffling your feet can be your best option as it will give you the most stability.
- Know how to fall.When carrying a briefcase, lunch bag, or your children you are just asking for trouble. If you were to fall this now eliminates one or both arms from helping absorb the impact. Most deaths from falling on ice occur when the person hits their head on the ice. This also means keep your hands out of your pockets and gloves on. While you may injure your arms or shoulders you will protect your head.
- Be cautious everywhere. Walk near something you can hold on to like handrails or a fence. Grab sturdy objects when possible… and your friend or child IS NOT a sturdy object. You will likely pull them down with you. When getting out of a car, hold on to the door until you find out just how icy it is. Test the ground before you hop right out.
Even if you follow all these tips and precautions we still cannot guarantee that you won’t have an encounter with the ground sometime this winter. But the better you prepare the less likely you are to slip and fall.
For those of you with balance issues already, your job is harder still. If you have not yet had physiotherapy to help you with your balance issues, or if you’d like a therapist to assess your balance concerns, please call us to book an evaluation.
If you have already taken a hard fall, let one of our Physiotherapists help you recover and get you back on solid ground.More