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Protecting your family from fall-related injuries

October 23, 2015
interior of home showing front door, rug and nearby stairs

For most people, autumn and winter present a number of unique safety concerns, especially as it relates to flu prevention and various winter activities. However, there is another area where people should place greater focus, and that's injuries related to falling. Because the ground is frozen over or cluttered with leaves and other debris during these seasons, the likelihood of slipping is far higher than in spring or summer. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.8 million children receive treatment in emergency rooms each year after falling, while 2.5 million senior citizens suffer the same kinds of injuries. As such, it's important that young and old alike take the precautions necessary to prevent such painful trauma. Here are a few vital tips to adequately safeguard your home and family:

"Some 2.8 million children are treated each year for fall-related injuries."

Wear proper footwear: Wearing the right kinds of shoes is a good idea whether you're 8 or 80. That often begins by making sure everyone in your family wears the right sized shoe, as any loose-fitting loafers, boots or high-tops can contribute to a nasty fall. Whenever possible, avoid purchasing shoes with slick soles, as these can be hazardous regardless of a specific terrain. In winter and autumn especially, it might be wise to invest in a good, reliable pair of boots, preferably made of anti-slip material, for everyone in the family.

Lighten up: Often, people will slip and fall simply because there isn't an ample light source in a given room. There should not only be lights in every bathroom, hallway and bedroom, but also clear paths to the actual light switches. Better yet, opt for glow-in-the dark switches to make finding these buttons that much easier. Finally, keep flashlights nearby in case of a random power outage, and be sure to periodically check on the battery power of each device.

Get some support: If there is an elderly family member living in your house, you may want to consider installing safety supports. These devices go around the toilet, shower and sink and offer a more firm place to grasp. There are mobile support systems - like certain platforms akin to step ladders - or those that are actually connected to the wall or other surfaces. Just be aware the latter kind of supports is usually more expensive and sometimes requires professional contractors to install.

Watch your step: According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, people age 65 and older account for 70 percent of all deaths tied to stairs. That should highlight the real importance of proper stair safety and continual maintenance. In your home, you want to ensure the stairs are always free of clutter and that the handrail is sturdy. Additionally, remove any loose carpets or rugs from the stairs to prevent tripping instances. Finally, everyone in your family should take his or her time as he or she moves up and down the stairs.

Don't get floored: Wearing the right shoes and having the proper light source goes only so far. Another big part of preventing falls is by ensuring you have the right flooring inside your house. Things like door mats, abrasive strips and metal decking can go a long way in cutting back on the number of accidental slips. However, part of the equation is also good housekeeping. Regular sweeping can reduce the buildup of debris, particulates that contribute to so many household accidents.

If a fall does ever occur inside your home, you can always take a family member to the nearest CareWell Urgent Care location. With a team of highly-trained physicians at each individual hospital, CareWell can treat almost any fall-related injury and get you back on your feet.

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