Safe Walking & Fall Prevention

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When it comes to some of the most common injuries that occur in the United States, falls are often the culprit. There are various ways in which people suffer from fall injuries, and most of them are preventable. Today, we want to discuss some of the statistics around falls in this country as well as some fall prevention methods.

The facts around fall injuries

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) takes falls seriously. They give us some good reasons for why we should take them seriously as well.

  • One out of every five falls causes a serious injury (broken bones or head injuries).
  • Over 800,000 people are hospitalized each year due to fall injuries.
  • Falls are the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

The CDC points out that older Americans are most at risk for serious fall injuries. They say that nearly three million older people are treated in the ER each year for fall injuries. Many of these injuries are TBIs and hip fractures.

  • 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.

When walking around vehicles

Pedestrian accidents have been on an upward trend in West Virginia. The human body is no match for a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds. When you are a pedestrian around other vehicles, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Always use sidewalks when they are available and only cross the street at intersections or marked crosswalks. Do not assume a driver sees you. Driver inattention is one of the leading causes of pedestrian fatalities.

You also need to pay attention while in parking lots. Again, do not assume a vehicle driver sees you when they are backing out of or going into a parking space.

Walking on other people’s property

Always be aware of your surroundings when you are on another person’s property. The leading cause of premises injuries is slip and fall/trip and fall incidents. These incidents are often caused by:

  • Floors wet from spills and leaks
  • Recently mopped floors with no “wet floor” sign
  • Low-lying obstacles in aisles
  • Cords or cables on the ground
  • Loose or torn carpeting
  • Loose stairs or missing railings

Slip and fall incidents lead to over one million people going to the ER each year and can cause serious injuries.

In the hospital

One of the main ways people get injured in the hospital is due to falls. Healthcare providers should always know a patient’s risk of falling and have measures in place to prevent these incidents. This can include special signage on a patient’s doorway as well as the use of alarms to alert staff to patient movement. Patients at risk of falling should never be allowed to move around unassisted.

General fall prevention measures

Leading a healthy and active lifestyle is a great way to prevent falls and fall injuries. Lower body weakness is a leading cause of falls, and regular walking can increase lower body muscles. You should also ensure you have a healthy diet that includes vitamin D.

Other common causes of falls that you need to be aware of include:

  • Poor vision
  • Poor footwear
  • Hazards around a person’s home
  • The use of certain medications
  • Health conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, and stroke

Most falls are caused by a combination of the hazards listed above. Use this information to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.