Winter may be the “most wonderful time” for holidays, but it’s arguably the most dangerous season. Factors like frigid temps and slippery ice create incredibly hazardous situations. Even if you’re a fan of winter sports, you need to be prepared for the challenges of these cold months.
The best way to stay safe during the winter—or any season, for that matter—is to review the latest data from safety experts. Knowing the risks of winter could help people better prepare for these chilly challenges.
Staying Safe In The Snow — Crucial Statistics On Winter Safety Prevention
Shoveling & Slips — Taking Care When Cleaning Snow
Shoveling is more than an annoying wintertime chore. For many people, getting rid of snow could pose significant health challenges.
Indeed, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital now suggests at least 100 people per year suffer a fatal heart attack while shoveling. In total, about 11,500 people visit the ER each year due to a shoveling-related health event.
The combination of harsh exertion and cold temps puts many adults at risk for cardiac arrest. Anyone with pre-existing heart conditions or who lives a sedentary lifestyle has a greater chance for complications during or after shoveling.
There’s also a greater risk of slip & fall injuries during the winter season. The CDC now reports that roughly 17,000 Americans die in ice-related slip & fall cases per year.
Everyone should speak with their doctor to see if they’re fit enough to go outdoors to shovel. If patients have the all-clear to go outdoors, they should schedule frequent breaks and wear footwear with slip-proof padding. Anti-ice chemicals like salt are also great ways to reduce the risk of slipping while shoveling.
Turn Up The Heat To Turn Down Your Hypothermia Risk
Extreme temps are never good for the body, but it seems like cold is worse than heat. According to the CDC, more Americans die from hypothermia versus hyperthermia. According to recent data, cold weather claims at least 800 lives per year versus 400 for excessive heat.
The only way to avoid this condition is to stay inside a warm area. When people need to go outside, they should bundle up and pre-plan how long they will be outdoors.
Ideally, people should never stay outside for longer than 30 minutes when temps are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also a good idea to sip a warm, non-alcoholic beverage when inside.
The CDC notes that damp clothing and alcohol consumption will significantly increase the risks of hypothermia. Children and the elderly are always at a greater risk for hypothermia.
Be Extra Aware Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Given how cold it is in the winter, it’s no wonder people crank up the heat and stay indoors. Unfortunately, these fiery furnaces pose an increased risk of carbon monoxide exposure. In fact, the CDC says carbon monoxide poisoning is at its highest during the winter.
Carbon monoxide is a sinister & silent killer. Unfortunately, many people don’t know they’ve been affected by this toxin until the symptoms become unbearable. Current estimates suggest about 400 people die due to carbon monoxide every year. Shockingly, about 50,000 people go to the hospital due to carbon monoxide annually.
The best defense against CO is to use a hi-tech detector. Interestingly, John Hopkins research suggests only 28 percent of CO detectors in America are in working order. Researchers also claim most Americans don’t know how to use or replace their sensors.
Given these findings, safety officials recommend everyone double-check their carbon monoxide detector is working. Residents should also have at least one pair of backup batteries in case of a power outage.
To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide, residents should double-check their vents are clear, and their fireplaces are clean. It’s also imperative never to leave engines or generators running in enclosed spaces.
Extra Slippage On The Streets — The Dangers Of Winter Driving
The Federal Highway Administration estimates at least 70 percent of America’s roadways are in areas prone to snow. As snow and ice accumulate on these streets, more motorists are at risk for traffic fatalities. Indeed, the FHA also suggests at least 1,300 Americans die in snow-related car crashes per year.
If drivers need to hit the road in less-than-ideal weather, AAA advises against using cruise control. Traffic safety experts also recommend reducing your overall speed and increasing your distance from other cars by about eight seconds.
It’s also best for everyone to check their car’s safety features before the coldest weather sets in. Motorists who have any concerns about their vehicle should speak with a registered mechanic ASAP.
Which Snow Activities Are The Most Accident-Prone?
Many people prefer “fun in the frost” to “fun in the sun,” but winter sports carry significant risks for injuries. According to the CDC, snowboarding is the most dangerous activity with about 26 percent of ER visits for a winter sport. The two other sports with the highest injury rates included sledding and hiking.
In total, roughly 213,000 people visit the ER with a winter-sport-related injury. Nearly half of these injuries happened after a slip & fall incident, and most patients were between 10 – 24.
Anyone thinking about trying a winter sport should always start slow and work with a pro instructor. Nemours also recommends wearing plenty of protective gear, including wrist guards, helmets, and goggles.
No matter what winter sport a person tries, it’s essential to stay in a group.
Use These Stats To Stay Safe In The Snow!
While not every American has to deal with snow, most citizens must worry about winter safety. Indeed, data suggests at least 70 percent of America is in a snow-prone area. Chances are you or a loved one will have to contend with the challenges of ice, sleet, and snow.
Thankfully, there are many ways people could prevent catastrophe during these cold months. Speaking with a doctor, double-checking your carbon monoxide devices, and giving your car a tune-up are a few ways you could stay safe during the winter. Keeping the above suggestions in mind should ensure you have a warm & secure winter.