Snow Safety and Falling

Jodee Redmond
Footprints in snow

Winter is a beautiful time of year, but people need to be aware of snow safety and falling hazards before they step outside to enjoy it.

Snow Safety and Falling Prevention Tips

The following are some tips to lower the risk of injury due to slip and fall in snowy or icy conditions:

  • Wear boots with rubber soles that can give you good traction on outdoor surfaces. Shoes or boots with plastic or leather soles will be slippery in snowy or icy conditions, and you are at greater risk of falling if you wear them.
  • Avoid walking on uneven surfaces wherever possible.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets when walking outside in the winter. You want to have your arms free to hold out to your sides to give you better balance if you feel yourself starting to slip.
  • If you have to walk across an icy patch, take small, shuffling steps.
  • Bending your knees slightly when walking outside in winter can reduce the likelihood of a fall.
  • Avoid carrying large boxes or packages outside in the winter. A large purse can also cause you to lose your balance; a safer bet may be to choose a smaller one when the mercury starts to drop.
  • Make a point of looking down at the ground before you get out of your car. If you have parked on a piece of ice, you may want to move to a different spot to avoid injury.

How To Fall Safely

If you are outside in the winter and feel yourself start to lose your balance and fall, try to roll with the fall so that you are moving backwards rather than falling forward onto your face. Try to relax as much as you can; tensing up as you fall increases your chances of getting hurt.

If you are carrying an object in your arms, toss it away from you when you are starting to fall. You want to avoid being injured by landing on top of it.

It will take less than a couple of seconds for you to land on the ground if you fall while walking on snow or ice, even though it may feel as though you are falling in slow motion. Try to avoid putting your hand down to break you fall, since this can lead to a wrist injury.

Practice Falling Safely

To avoid injury from snow safety and falling, practice rolling yourself into a ball when falling. Start by sitting down on the floor with your legs out in front of you. To practice how to handle falling backwards, slowly start to lie back towards the floor and move your head forward so that your chin is toward your chest. Lift your knees toward your chest and move your arms away from your body. Slap the floor with the palms of your hands and your forearms. Using this technique will help avoid hitting the ground with your head, elbows or wrists.

To practice falling sideways, start from the same position but start to roll to either side. As you roll out, move your arm parallel to your body to that your forearm makes contact with the floor first. At the same time, lift your head up and move it toward the shoulder that is opposite to the direction of your "fall." Practice this move in the opposite direction.

You can also practice a front fall. Start by kneeling on the floor and lean forward. As you fall, roll to the side. Your arm should be parallel to your body so that your forearm makes contact with the floor instead of your wrist. Lift your head and turn it towards the opposite shoulder as you roll down to the floor.

By keeping these suggestions in mind and practicing how to fall safely, you lower your risk of injury due to snow safety and falling.

Snow Safety and Falling