by Daniel Pokrifka, ATC/L
HeadFirst Concussion Care Program Administrator
Basic physics teaches us that an object at rest will always remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. Likewise, an object in motion will continue in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. We humans are objects that seem to always be always in motion, so it stands to reason that we’re continually acted upon by external forces that change our direction. Unfortunately, the direction that these forces sometimes push us coincides with another of Newton’s Laws: Gravity.
Slips and falls are one of the top causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually (National Safety Council Injury Facts 2011). When we fall, it always seems like we fall head first. Falling out of bed, slipping in the bath, falling down steps, and falling from ladders accounts for a large percentage of head traumas, some of which can result in Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI).
Since becoming an object perpetually at rest is not an option lowering the impact of these unbalanced forces is the only way we can prevent these traumatic injuries from occurring. Fortunately with spring in the air now is a good time clean up our homes (where most of these injuries occur) to prevent these injuries from happening.
Here are some home safety tips to help prevent injuries and falls:
o Clean up all spills immediately
o Stay off freshly mopped floors
o Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas
o Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping
o Keep frequently used items in easily reachable areas
o Wear shoes with good support and slip-resistant soles
o Arrange furniture to provide open walking pathways
o Keep drawers and cabinet doors closed at all times
o Install handrails on all staircases on both sides
o Remove tripping hazards (paper, boxes, books, clothes, toys, shoes) from stairs and walkways
o If you have young children, install gates at the top and bottom of stairs (unlatch the gate in order to pass – don’t climb over them)
o Ensure adequate lighting both indoors and outdoors
o Remove debris from exterior walkways
o Adjust gutter downspouts to drive water away from pathways
o Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, and repair damages immediately
o Never stand on a chair, table or other surface on wheels
(NSC Injury Facts 2011).
These tips are quick and easy to do all it takes is a little effort to prevent you or a loved one from getting hurt.