With winter comes snow, ice and cold temperatures, all of which can make it more difficult to move around safely. Whether you’re living with low vision or limited mobility -- or are helping care for someone with vision or mobility issues -- here are six ways to keep safe this winter season, and to help prevent trips, slips and falls inside or outside your home.
1) Clear Away the Clutter
One of the best ways to prevent accidents at home is simply keeping your surroundings neat. If you use a walker or a wheelchair, it's doubly important that paths are free to move through.
Clear away any clutter that could get in your way, but also do routine maintenance on your furniture, surfaces and other household items. A loose floorboard can mean disaster, and so can that toaster that is way too close to the edge of the counter.
Of course, check your porches and walkways, too. Accidents happen when people get too comfortable around their environments, missing the unsafe spots. If you do find yourself moving through familiar spaces without paying attention, it might be time for a spring cleaning during the winter!
2) Keep Floors in Safe Shape
The best ways to keep floors free of debris (and therefore safe) are keeping them swept and vacuumed often, wiping up spills immediately, and staying on top of any repairs that need doing -- both inside and around the perimeter of your home.
If it's raining or snowing out, you can use a special bathroom rug outside your home’s entranceway so that those entering your home don’t track in debris or water on their shoes. A good sturdy mat will also help prevent slips when exiting your vehicle; keep one with you and use it when you're entering or leaving your car.
3) Ice Melts Can Make All the Difference
Ice melts can do a lot more than just melt ice. These special de-icers come in different forms including pellets, granules or flakes that are easy to sprinkle on walkways and steps outside your home—or anywhere you’d normally find ice in wintertime. And with slippery floors being a common cause of winter falls inside homes as well as outside them (including on porches), using ice melts is a smart solution for preventing slips and falls when getting around during cold weather.
4) Clean Sidewalks on a Routine Basis
Clear any snow or ice on sidewalks regularly—especially if you’re in an area where it snows often. It’s easy to forget about clearing pathways but doing so can avoid a big slip-and-fall accident that leaves you with a broken arm or worse. Plus, it will also help prevent your neighbors from having an accident as well!
5) Keep Traction
You can prevent slips and falls in winter weather by taking steps to keep your footing. The key is to good traction is to put a layer of rubber between you and slippery surfaces—and no, I’m we're not talking about galoshes. Rather than trying to increase traction with traditional shoes or boots, it is often more effective (and easier) to use a pair of grippy socks or wraps that can be placed over regular footwear.
Anti-Slip Ice Treads, suitable for any type of shoe, will help you maintain your style as well as your safety!
Also, a high-quality ramp will give you the traction you need to get into and out of your home's entryways.
6) Have a Buddy System in Place
Before you leave home—even if it’s just for a trip down to your mailbox—make sure you have someone check in on you. Let them know exactly where you are going, what route you plan on taking and how long you expect it will take. It's always better to be safe than sorry!