Prevent Accidents this Winter with the Following Ideas!
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During winter holidays, ice and snow can be a wonderfully peaceful and enjoyable time of the year, but it’s also the most common time of year to be involved in an accident inside or outside of your home. By properly preparing for winter weather and the potential hazards it brings, you can insure a happy and healthy holiday season and prevent accidents that can impact your life now and in the future. Preventing potential disasters is the focus of this newsletter.
Inside of Your Home
Even though the snow and ice are outdoors during winter, there are still many accident risks inside of your home.
- Proper lighting is critical to indoor safety during the winter. As the sun sets early, visibility and depth perception are greatly reduced. Check light bulbs in your home to be sure that every room has a combination of task light and ambient lighting. Avoid CFL and other fluorescent lighting due to health concerns related to visual stress and perceptual problems caused by this type of energy energy efficient lighting. Use led lighting on automatic controls and dimmers with dimmable bulbs where appropriate.
- Check your stair railings for stability before the winter starts. If you or your children slip on the stairs, the railing will be the only thing standing between you catching yourself and having an accident.
- Keep steps clean and dry at all times to avoid slipping and falling. Steps are dangerous when they’re dry, so imagine how dangerous they could be when they’re wet and icy. Delineate stair edges with contrasting light color or fluorescent tape, paint or other material to be visible at all times and insure adequate lighting especially at the top and bottom of the stairway.
- Place absorbent, rubber-backed, non-slip mats outside and inside of every entrance to your home. Ensure that family members wipe their feet to get rid of any snow or ice before and after they enter the home. Pay attention to areas around the floor mats to make sure puddles aren’t lingering after the ice melts. Same in places like your kitchen snd bathroom where you may find wet, slippery surfaces.
- When planning your holiday décor, make sure that there is plenty of space between your decorations and the wall, and that electrical outlets are not covered or next to anything flammable. Do not overload outlets and extension cords. Keep cords away from walking routes due to becoming a tripping hazzard. Use automatic and/or photosensitive lighting controls.
- If you find yourself hanging up wet clothes or boots in the bathroom to dry, make sure that you have non-slip mats out and regularly wipe up pooled water.
- Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors during the winter, even if your power goes out. If you have any gas-burning heaters or equipment in the kitchen, pay special attention to your carbon monoxide detectors. While carbon monoxide poisoning can happen at any time of the year, it is much more common in the winter when windows are closed. Purchase and learn to use a back up generator in case of power outage especially for refrigerator, heater, and electric burner or toaster oven.
Outside of the Home
Winter weather can make the outdoors a dangerous place to be. An estimated 17,000 slip and fall accidents occur each year in the United States, and many of them happen as a direct result of snow and ice. When outside of the home during the winter:
- Go slowly when walking and use railings installed on both sides of walkways, ramps and stairs outside. Treat areas outside of your home with salt or ice melt, when you expect winter weather.
- Insure that there is proper lighting wherever you walk and pay attention to what you are doing (put down the phone!).
- When driving at night, take your time and prepare for the possibility of snow or ice. If you do need to drive during winter weather, take a well-traveled route that is less likely to have accumulated snow or ice. Make sure your tires have adequate treads for winter weather and are in good condition.
- Shoveling snow is one of the most dangerous winter activities, and many adults have minor and major accidents trying to clean up the area outside of their homes. Always stretch before you start shoveling and push the snow instead of lifting it. If you have to lift snow, use a small shovel and lift with your legs. Use a snow blower where possible or hire someone to help as needed or on automatic call.
- If you can’t avoid walking on an icy surface, you should walk by bending forward slightly and shortening your stride. Instead of taking big strides, shuffle your feet forward. Use a cane or hiking poles with ice tips. Insure shies are sturdy with good treads on heels and bottoms.
General Prevention Tips
In general, during the winter months you should make sure that you are:
- Pacing activities wisely, especially if you are tackling yard work or shoveling snow outside.
- Constantly looking out for potential safety issues, like slippery steps outside or black ice in the parking lot.
- Monitoring your body when outdoors or doing strenuous activities. Make sure that you are taking breaks and not getting too warm or cold at any time. Hypothermia and frostbite can sneak up quickly if you aren’t properly monitoring your body.
- Paying extra attention to the security of your home. Leaving boxes for your pricey holiday gifts out on the curb is a good way to let potential burglars know exactly what’s inside.
- Install security cameras and insure all windows, doors, garages, and cars are locked even when you are home. Outdoors should be well lit and trim bushes etc to improve visibility.
Lighting & Irlen Syndrome
The holiday season is known for lights of every color, shape and pattern. However, lighting can play a huge role in creating visual and sensory overload and stress. This is a major contributor and cause if dyslexia and other learning challenges, headaches/migraines, visual distortions, and focus and attention deficits. Working productivity can be impacted and seasonal depression can all contribute to challenges during this time of year. Seek medical help when symptoms become severe.
If you deal with light sensitivity during the holiday season and the associated discomfort, you could benefit from irlen testing to determine if environmental modifications and irlen spectral filters can provide immediate improvements and decrease stress and prevent or minimize potential risks and accidents.
A free phone pre-screening and symptom checklist will tell you whether this option is tight for you, a loved one or employee or student. Go online at www.Aotss.Com to schedule an appointment today with abilities OT & Irlen diagnostic center help create wellness and educate you about caring for yourself to address challenges so your holidays can be even happier.
Contact Us Today
To learn more about our accessibility consultations and injury prevention services, call us today at (410) 358-7269. To get started at home, complete a pre-assessment for Sensory Processing Disorder, schedule a free phone consultation, and learn more about the Irlen screening process, Irlen diagnostic testing, Irlen re-tint testing, and who we help.