Saturday, December 20, 2008

Safety Saturdays: Walk Safely in the Winter

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), almost 12,000 Ontarians visited an emergency room in 2002–2003 after falling on ice. Although older individuals (over 60) were most likely to require a longer hospital stay, the majority of injuries occured to adults aged 40-59 (30%) followed by the 20-39 age group (24%).

Think about it: 1/4 of falls on snow/ice that required a visit to the emergency room happened to the 20-39 age range.

So what can you do to prevent a fall?

First, dress appropriately. When you know there is (or could be) snow or ice on the ground, you should wear appropriate shoes. Avoid smooth shoes and heels; opt for non-slip, grooved soles. You can change into your pretty shoes when you get to your destination! When the weather's bad, we understand that you'll change your shoes when you get to work.

Second, walk smart. The Canada Safety Council has this advice for walking safely on snow and ice:
-Slow down and pay attention to walking;
-Keeping your body as loose as possible, spread your feet approximately a foot apart to provide a base of support to stabilize you as you walk;
-Keep your knees loose and let them bend a bit to keep your centre of gravity lower to the ground, and further stabilizes the body;
-Keep a wide base of support - try to keep your feet spread out one foot wide;
-Turn your toes out slightly (like a penguin)
-Hold your arms out to your sides to increase your balance;
-Take small steps, placing your whole foot down at once and shifting your weight slowly/evenly.

Some people prefer to shuffle their feet, which is fine as long as you place your whole foot on the ice at once and keep your base of support one foot wide and keep your hands at your sides (not in your pockets).

Obviously the best thing is to prevent a fall. But if you do fall, try not to fall on your spine or your head. The best thing you can do is relax your muscles. Ha - easier said than done! But try to protect your back and head.

Evidently, Southern Ontario is in the middle of "snow-mageddon". Picking that name is just inciting panic. Yes, there's been more snow this year than normal (for mid-December), but we've certainly seen this much snow in past years. The trouble is that 3 pretty big snow storms in 5 days (Wednesday, Friday and tomorrow). However, driving and walking safely is possible! Just many people forget what's important when they're doing last-minute shopping or running late to a dinner party. Be safe and remember what's important! No one will mind if you're late!


Jest said...

I've already had three winter falls and it's only December! Nothing too serious, thankfully just really really embarrassing.

melissa said...

I am taking my fiance back to Nebraska for Christmas and going to share this with him. Every other time we have been there the weather has been nice so no snow or ice. He has only seen snow a couple of times so he is quite the novice when it comes to navigating ice.

Krista said...

I just love this image of the penguins, btw.