The holiday season is characterized by gratitude and giving, great food, time with family and friends, holiday decorations galore, shopping, gift buying and lots of snow and ice.
Those latter two items – adverse weather conditions – may be beautiful to look at and great for winter sports, but they also create the risk of slip and falls. These incidents can readily occur when hanging lights or simply walking outside.
As you enjoy this holiday season in Teaneck or elsewhere in New Jersey during the coming weeks, be sure to be aware of the risk of slip and fall accidents and other injuries.
From our family to yours, here are some home safety tips for the holidays:
Up on the Rooftop, Keep Things Safe
Hanging lights from the roof is a holiday tradition for most folks in New Jersey. But hanging lights from the roof can be dangerous.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has observed a trend in the number of fall-related injuries over the holidays related to decorating. The CDC reports that the highest percentage of falls recorded during the holiday period are from ladders, while the second highest percentage of falls involve roofs. Men are 40 percent more likely than women to be injured in these falls, the CDC states.
If you are responsible for hanging lights this year, start with the ladder. Is it in good condition? Before you climb it, are you sure it is stable?
Think about weather conditions as well. Is there likely to be ice on the roof? Snow? Moisture? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, wait until things are dry before heading up.
Additionally, consider your footwear. Are you wearing sturdy shoes with good tread? If not, you should think twice before climbing a ladder or getting onto the roof.
When you are on the top of the roof, move slowly and carefully. Ask someone to help hand you lights or tools so that you do not have to move around too much.
How You Can Protect Yourself During Winter Activities
Getting on top of a roof in the winter may pose obvious dangerous. Many other winter activities during the holidays may seem much safer. However, they may actually be just as risky in their own way.
- Sledding and tubing
- Ice skating
All of these activities pose a huge risk for falling and causing a person to suffer injuries such as fractures, ligament tears, bruises, cuts or – in the worst situations – a tragic spine or brain injury.
If you will be participating in winter sports this holiday season, do your part to prevent a fall – and a serious injury – by knowing your ability level. For example, do not ski on a slop that you know is beyond your skill level.
Most winter sports require the use of a helmet. So, be sure to choose one that meets certification standards and fits well.
Navigating Snowy and Icy Walkways and Parking Lots
One of the most common places for a slip and fall injury in the wintertime is a parking lot. Slip and falls on sidewalks, driveways and other walkways are also common.
If you are a home or business owner, make sure you remove snow as soon as possible after it settles and put down salt to combat ice.
As you walk this holiday season, protect yourself from slip and falls on icy or snowy walking surfaces by always wearing appropriate footwear. The heels should wait until you are inside.
Also, try to keep your hands free so that if you do start to slip, you can grab on to something or brace yourself. Carrying a lot of items can also make it harder to maintain your balance.
When possible, use handrails – especially when walking up and down outdoor stairs.
Preventing Indoor Slip and Falls When Hanging Decorations
Holiday safety is not just for the outdoors. Slip and falls happen inside, too. They can occur when hanging holiday decorations indoors – especially when those decorations are placed at locations that are beyond reach without a stool or a ladder such as the tops of windows, trees and door frames.
As you hang decorations this holiday season, be sure to use a stable surface to stand on. The bed, lazy boy or old stool probably is not the best choice.
Keeping Things Clean in the Kitchen
Another place where paying attention to safety tips could make a difference is in the kitchen. The holidays are a time for cooking and eating. However, with food, there comes the risk of spills.
If you notice a spill on the floor, clean it up the moment that you notice it – even if you are in the middle of something else. Liquid spills and food on slippery surfaces like laminate, hardwood or tile can be a recipe for a painful slip and fall accident.
Navigating Icy Driving Conditions
Your car may very well slip on ice or snow this holiday season. Make sure your car has appropriate tires for the weather, and be cautious about braking too hard or overcorrecting if your car does start to slip or spin out of control.
Remember to slow down when driving in adverse conditions or freezing temperatures. Black ice, for instance, can lead to a car accident in a matter of moments.
Have a Safe Season Free from Holiday Slip and Falls
At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., we hope that you have an excellent and safe holiday season and that slip and falls and other accidents do not spoil the festivities.
If you do experience a slip and fall or other accident type during the holidays, our lawyers can help you to pursue compensation if the accident was caused by the negligence of another party. To learn more about your legal rights, call us and receive a free consultation.