Winter walking safety vital

Thursday, January 19, 2012

With a few more months of winter ahead of us and at some time snow and ice covering many of our walkways and roadways, The Iowa Department of Public Health warns that slips, trips, and falls can cause not only debilitating injuries, they're the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

We all know of, or have heard of, many Iowans who have fallen on slippery surfaces and sustained either minor or major injuries, including broken bones and concussions.

The IDPH has issued some safety tips for winter walking on icy, snowy walkways:

Use special care when entering or exiting buildings or vehicles. Use handrails or the vehicle for support as you move from one position to the next.

Take special caution in parking lots, where statistics show 80 percent of slips and falls due to ice and snow occur.

Try to avoid north-facing entrances to buildings. They tend to remain icy and slippery.

Wear appropriate footwear. Rubber-soled boots and shoes give more traction than leather or plastic.

Carry only what you can easily manage. Carrying too many items can impair your balance.

If you must walk on slippery surfaces, slow down. Take small steps and keep a hand free for balance. Bending slightly forward may help protect your head if your feet slip out from under you.

And remember, wet surfaces indoors are a huge risk, too. Use care when entering buildings. At home, mop and dry wet areas immediately.

Please slow down and keep these safety tips in mind in wintertime and avoid a costly, medical emergency.