In many parts of the country, wintertime is when things get slippery, both inside and outside. The roads can be slick because of snow, ice, or freezing rain. Tracking this precipitation indoors on our shoes or boots can make floors slippery, too.
Take steps to keep the steps you take safe! Read on for some practical and clever ways to prevent slips and falls.
- Clear Outdoor Walkways
It is imperative to clear off sidewalks, walkways, steps, and porches — basically any surface that a visitor might need to traverse when coming to your house. That could mean a couple of different things, depending on your climate:
- Removing dead leaves and other debris that could become slippery when wet
- Sweeping or shoveling any accumulated snow
- Treating icy surfaces with rock salt, kitty litter, sand, or a commercial de-icer
- Making sure obstacles such as toys, lawn tools, garbage cans, etc. do not impede pathways
- Make Sure Things Stay Dry Inside
Next, you’ll need to think about what happens when people enter your home. Either outside or inside — or both — lay down a heavy-duty floor mat where people can stamp and scrape the snow or other debris off their boots.
Consider asking visitors to remove their footwear in the entryway, mudroom, or foyer. Not only will this keep your floors and carpets dry and clean, but it will also reduce the germs that get tracked through your home. A boot tray, which keeps moisture off the floor, will corral everyone’s gear until it’s time for them to leave; as an extra-thoughtful touch, provide a selection of slippers for them to use during their stay.
- Prevent Falls with Proper Footwear
Speaking of slippers, everyone who lives in your home should have indoor footwear for wintertime. Keeping family members’ feet warm is one benefit, but another is safety and preventing slips and falls. This is especially important for children, seniors, and anyone who has mobility issues.
Choose house shoes or indoor-outdoor slippers that are closed, that are adjustable for a perfect fit, and that have a sturdy, non-skid sole. Avoid any footwear that has an open toe, an open back, or a loose fit. Flip flops and shower shoes are absolute no-nos; according to Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Lampert & Walsh, they are a common cause of slips, trips, and falls.
If your tootsies stay warm enough, going barefoot is fine, but don’t walk on hardwood, vinyl, tile, or linoleum floors in your stocking feet. It’s simply too slippery.
- Other Safety Measures to Take Indoors
While common sense is usually sufficient to make sure the interior of your home is safe, it can help to take a tour of the premises with a fresh eye. Imagine a stranger visiting you; what would they see? They might not know to step over that big pile of books next to the living room door. They could easily trip over those toys your children habitually leave out that everyone else is used to avoiding. Or they might not know that the rag rug Grandma made, while an attractive heirloom, is slippery as all get-out.
Some other steps to take:
- Make sure all lights are bright enough to aid in walking. Replace bulbs in a timely fashion and keep lights on an automatic timer, if that is easier.
- Put down anti-slip floor mats next to bedsides, in bathrooms and kitchens, and anywhere that stumbles or slips could happen.
- Install grab bars, especially in the bathroom.
- Replace loose carpets or rugs. (Sorry, Grandma!)
- Any family members who need canes or walkers should use them.
Of course, accidents are not always avoidable. Sometimes people lose their footing or their balance for no real reason and just take a tumble despite your best efforts at making your home a safe place. But you will feel better all winter long after having done everything you can to improve traction, remove obstacles, and otherwise safeguard the property.