Take care while holiday shopping to avoid falls

Because of winter weather, one of the biggest hazards you face while shopping for the holidays could be right under your feet.

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the No. 1 reason that people end up in emergency rooms — and many of those falls start with nothing more than a slip on unsure footing or a slick floor. Falls are responsible for all manner of significant personal injuries, including bone fractures, spinal cord injuries and head trauma. They’re also the No. 1 cause of lost work days.

It’s so important to be careful when you’re out shopping for holiday gifts — especially when Pennsylvania’s weather is likely to make parking lots and store floors treacherous. With that in mind, make some plan right now to avoid injuries from a bad fall while you’re hunting down those Black Friday bargains.

In icy or snowy parking lots

You may not be able to choose a good spot to park when the shopping season is in full swing, but try to pick an area of the lot that’s been cleared of snow and salted. If you do have to cross a slick parking lot:

  • Make sure you have on appropriate footwear. Sneakers won’t do. Wear boots with a thick, heavy tread that will give you some traction on the snow or ice.
  • Take short, slow steps. Build extra time into your schedule to avoid rushing.
  • Put your phone in your pocket. Distracted walking is hazardous without snow or ice on the ground!

Once you’re inside a store

Don’t let your guard down the moment you step inside a store. Many retail stores have tile floors that don’t provide any traction when they’re wet. In particular:

  • Be cautious near the door of any retail establishment. All the snow and ice that’s been tracked in by others could make the entranceway a threat.
  • Watch for other shoppers. “Defensive walking” is an absolute must when you’re trying to make your way through the stores during the holiday season.

Sometimes, your best precautions may not be enough. A property that’s not well-maintained can be unreasonably dangerous for anybody to navigate. If you’re injured in a fall, find out what legal options you may have to compensation for your injuries.