Millions of falls occur yearly among elderly populations, yet less than half are reported to doctors. Around 20 percent of falls lead to severe injuries, such as fracturing bones or head trauma. Approximately 800,000 people annually require hospitalization from falling and sustaining an injury – the most common being head or hip damage.
And as winter approaches, it’s essential to take extra precautions around the home to prevent slips and falls. Ice and snow can make outdoor surfaces slippery, and this same danger can also lurk inside the house. But simple upgrades can help you keep your home safe during cold winter.
Ice Melt for Steps, Driveways, and Walkways
One of the simplest ways to prevent slips and falls is by using ice melt on your exterior steps, driveways, and walkways. An ice-melt product designed for use on concrete will provide traction without damaging the surface of your pavement or stairs. For maximum protection, use a combination of mechanical removal (like shoveling) and chemical deicers like ice melt. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions before you begin.
Most ice melt products are made from a combination of sodium chloride and other ingredients like magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and ammonium sulfate. These compounds help lower the freezing point of water and create a brine mixture that helps break up compacted ice and snow.
When using ice melt, follow the instructions on the packaging for proper amounts, spread rates, and application timing. Also, consider the temperature outside—ice melt will be less effective when it’s cold out. Be sure to clear away any excess ice or snow around the edges of your steps before applying to ensure optimal performance.
Non-Slip Rugs and Mats
Interior floors can become just as slippery as outdoor surfaces when exposed to rain or snow tracked indoors. To protect against slips and falls, consider adding non-slip rugs or mats in entryways or other high-traffic areas like bathrooms or kitchens.
Non-skid rugs are also great for hallways that receive lots of foot traffic since they add an extra layer of cushioning while providing some grip underfoot. Many non-slip mats are textured with tiny suction cups that grip the floor to keep them in place, so they won’t bunch up when walked on. For added safety and comfort, choose a rug or mat made of a material that is easy to clean and won’t fade over time.
Rug pads can also provide a layer of slip resistance when placed underneath any rug or mat. Rug pads are made with adhesive backing, so they will stay in place and protect against slips while providing a soft cushion underfoot. Look for non-slip rug pads made of rubber or foam that are designed to grip the floor and keep rugs in place.
Apply Non-Slip Floor Coatings
Applying non-slip floor coatings can also be a great solution for slippery floors. Non-slip coatings are available in various formulas and can be applied indoors or out. You can use epoxy floor sealers or thin sealers in areas with a high risk of slips and falls.
These coatings create a textured surface on floors that provide more traction, making them safer for walking. They are easy to apply, and clean up is simple with detergent and water. Applying non-slip floor coating can be an effective solution to make your floors slip-resistant.
Once you have applied the coating, cleaning the floors regularly and checking for any signs of wear is essential. Always wipe up spills immediately, as they can cause the coating to become slippery.
Additionally, it would help if you gave special attention to high-traffic areas or entranceways where dirt, oil, or wetness can accumulate and make it easier for someone to slip. Regular cleaning will help keep the floors safe and provide much-needed peace of mind.
Grab Bars and Handrails
Grab bars can be installed near showers, staircases, entryways, or anywhere else where someone may need extra help getting around safely. Handrails are especially helpful on stairs since they provide an additional point of contact when ascending or descending them.
Installing these safety features can help people with limited mobility or balance issues and elderly individuals. Be sure to install grab bars and handrails that meet all local building codes and are secure in their place.
When installing these tools, you should ensure they are firmly attached to the wall or floor and can support a certain amount of weight. It would help if you also considered installing non-slip covers on the bars and rails to make them easier to grip.
Finally, adding additional lighting around the area may be helpful to increase visibility and safety. With these simple additions, you can help create a safe and comfortable environment for people of all ages.
Slips and falls can quickly ruin anyone’s day—especially in icy winter weather! Following the tips in the article can help keep everyone safe this winter season. With these preventative measures in place, you’ll have one less thing to worry about this holiday season.