Did you know that the second leading cause of unintentional injuries is on something we regularly encounter in our daily lives? It’s common in our homes, buildings, and outdoor spaces. We’re talking about falls on stairs.
In BC, falls on stairs account for 38 deaths every year and over $17 million in hospitalization costs (Injury Data Online Tool, 2013/2014).
Older adults and young children are at a higher risk for falling on stairs. Older adults may experience fear of stairs and psychological effects as a result from falling. Your risk of falling on stairs is influenced by physical changes (mobility, vision, illness), certain medications, and poorly designed and maintained environments. Missing a step, rushing, carrying objects, and merely being distracted while on stairs can also cause falls to happen.
Here are some ways to ensure you have safe steps and prevent injuries from falls on stairs.
- Take your time on stairs and use a secure grip on handrails
- Have your vision annually checked by an optometrist
- Have your doctor or pharmacist review any medications you’re taking
- Exercise to maintain strength and balance
- Ensure stairs are well maintained with adequate lighting and kept free of clutter
- Discourage playing on stairs
- Supervise young children with wheeled toys and do not use baby walkers
- If using baby gates, properly install, use and close them