11 ways to prevent winter weather slips and falls

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Don’t let slick, icy surfaces catch you off guard

During the cold wet winter months when driveways, porch steps and walkways freeze over, no one wants to wipe out on the ice. Falls top the list when it comes to causes of fatal injuries among older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [1]. Non-fatal common injuries related to slips and falls include: broken wrists, elbows and hands 1. Falls may cause more severe injuries such as hip fractures, mobility issues and fatality 1.

Whether you’re out shopping or making a trip to the mailbox, keep these slick tips in mind to prevent outdoor missteps on snowy, icy surfaces.

  1. Watch for uneven sidewalks and depressions in the concrete
  2. Make sure there are no broken handrails near steps and that they are securely fastened
  3. If available use both handrails when walking up steps or inclines
  4. Use extra caution when entering or exiting your car and use the car to help steady yourself
  5. Ask a neighbor or loved one for help shoveling the sidewalk and driveway
  6. Use sand or commercial de-icers on steps, walkways and driveways
  7. Keep walkways well lit at dawn and dusk
  8. Look up—watch for falling snow and icicles
  9. Use proper footwear and boots when heading outdoors-opt for non-skid soles
  10. Take your time—walk slowly and use small steps
  11. If the ground appears icy, test the surface with one foot and avoid it if the surface feels slippery

Reference: 1. CDC, Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview, updated Dec., 2014, www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

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