Falls rival poisoning as the number one home accident in the U.S. The number of injuries or deaths from falls due to winter conditions is not recorded by the NSC. But, safety experts agree that many injuries result from falls on ice-covered surfaces.
It’s important that individuals recognize the hazards of slippery surfaces. Here are helpful hints from winter-safety experts that reduce the risk of falling when slippery conditions exist:
• Wear boots or overshoes with soles. Avoid walking in shoes that have smooth surfaces, which increase the risk of slipping.
• Walk consciously. Be alert to the possibility that you could quickly slip on an unseen patch of ice. Avoid the temptation to run to catch a bus or beat traffic when crossing a street.
• Walk cautiously. Your arms help keep you balanced, so keep hands out of pockets and avoid carrying heavy loads that may cause you to become off balance.
• Walk “small”. Avoid an erect, marching posture. Look to see ahead of where you step. When you step on icy areas, take short, shuffling steps, curl your toes under and walk as flatfooted as possible.
• Remove snow immediately before it becomes packed or turns to ice. Keep your porch stoops, steps, walks and driveways free of ice by frequently applying ice melter granules. This is the best way to prevent formation of dangerous ice patches. Using a potassium-based melter, such as Safe Step, instead of salt will prevent damage to concrete, grass and other vegetation or to carpets and floors should you track in some.