Ice Slipping Stats You Need to See

The approach of the winter season holds the promise of peaceful snowfalls, afternoons on the slopes, and lots of hot chocolate. But amongst the winter merriment lies one often unthought of danger: slipping and falling on ice.  Most often a short fall on level ground is nothing to worry about, but for older adults a fall can be deadly. According to the Center for Disease Control 21,700 older people died from a slip and fall accident in 2010.

Yet, it’s not just the elderly who need to tread carefully. Falling is the leading cause of non-fatal medically treated injuries in the U.S., and it is the number one source of traumatic brain injury. Falling can cause concussions as well as broken arms, wrists, and hips. Icy stairs often cause slips which end in lower back injuries. Falls account for approximately 8.9 million visits to the ER each year.

This surprisingly high rate of injury warrants special consideration to its prevention. Corporations usually promote special precautions to eliminate uneven or slippery surfaces from the workplace environment. Homeowners should follow suite by considering the safety of their sidewalks and steps, especially during the winter. Snow and ice removal should be standard practice in the neighborhood.

If you find yourself in an slippery situation, think about these safety tips. First, consider if going outside in inclement weather is really necessary. If you are an older adult and you think, “I am just going out to the mailbox,” then don’t, its not worth the risk of an icy fall. If you must go out and you find yourself crossing a patch of ice take inspiration from the penguin, walk with shorter steps and use a flat-footed shuffle motion, toes pointed slightly inward. Also, humans reflexively use their arms to steady themselves. Consequently most falls occur while a person is carrying heavy objects, like a grocery bag in each hand. Get in the habit of using handrails as a precaution. If you are an elderly person, don’t be afraid to ask for a steadying hand. Conversely, if you are a younger person don’t hesitate to offer help to someone in need; it can be a lifesaver.

Take initiative today and be sure to have plenty of ice melt.