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Winter safety around the home

Winter safety: Avoiding slips and falls

Winter can be a wonderful and challenging time of the year! The crisp air and snowy landscape present an ideal time for a walk or winter fun with the family. Freezing temperatures and hidden icy patches can present hazards that could wind up sending you or a loved one to the emergency room. Do your best to prevent falls and injuries this winter!

Dress for the Occasion

Important ways to keep safe and warm while being active:

  • Layering clothing preserves body heat. Long underwear, a fleece or wool sweater, a wind/water proof jacket are good options.
  • Avoid wearing cotton next to your skin. It absorbs sweat and stays wet.
  • Wear a hat - up to 40% of body heat loss can occur through the head
  • Wear gloves or mittens
  • Wear a scarf to protect the chin, lips and cheeks - all are extremely susceptible to cold weather injuries.
  • Bright colors or adding reflective material to clothing can help others see you better.
  • Protect exposed skin with sunscreen and lip balm, SPF 15 or more.
  • Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB rating.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

For warmth and stability look for the following when choosing a winter boot:

  • Well insulated and waterproof
  • Light in weight
  • A thick, non-slip tread sole; rubber or neoprene soles provide good traction on ice and snow
  • A raised cross-hatched pattern on soles is ideal
  •  A wide and low heel.
  • The larger the area of contact between the shoe and the walking surface, the better.

Ice grippers on footwear can improve walking on hard packed snow and ice and may help prevent falls.  Be careful! Grippers become dangerously slippery and must be removed before walking on smooth surfaces such as stone, tile and ceramic.

Other winter safety tips:

  • Keep walkways and stairs cleared of snow and ice. This protects not just you and your family but also postal carriers and other people making deliveries in your neighbourhood.
  • Lighten your load. Carry fewer bags and packages on slippery days, since excess baggage can throw off your balance and make it tougher to regain your balance once you lose it.
  • Drink warm fluids. Warm fluids can help keep you toasty, but avoid alcohol. Alcohol impairs your balance and your judgment.
  • Slow down! Better to get to your destination late than never, after all.

Always be on the lookout for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. In case of serious cold weather injury, seek immediate medical attention. Click here for more information on extreme weather safety.

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