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Are you at risk for a slip-and-fall?

The numbers on slip-and-fall accidents might surprise you. For every 100,000 people in the United States, there are 10 unintentional-fall deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, there are 10.6 motor vehicle traffic deaths. So, you are almost as likely to die from a slip-and-fall as you are from a car accident.

That said, if you are a senior citizen or in a hospital, you could be more at risk of slipping and falling. Here is a look at why.

Senior citizens

Perhaps not surprisingly, senior citizens are at great risk of serious injury from slipping and falling. Numbers on the CDC website paint a grim picture.

For example, there is a one-in-five risk of a serious injury when an elderly person falls. These injuries can include brain trauma, broken bones, hip injuries, broken wrists and others. Furthermore, senior citizens do not always tell someone when they fall, whether due to embarrassment or not seeing the need to. Keeping silent can mean injuries go untreated, and it contributes to a continuing unsafe environment.

The safety of a person’s environment plays a large role. Nursing homes should do fall-risk assessments to determine ways to make a resident’s living space safer.

Of course, such assessments are of little help in places such as grocery stores or shopping malls when food or water left on the floor can lead to disastrous results for senior citizens. Businesses and workplaces have the responsibility to train their employees about fall prevention and safety and to ensure that floor surfaces are properly maintained.

People in hospitals

Many falls occur in hospitals. This is due in part to at-risk patients coming in, whether they are at risk due to age, medications, sickness or other reason.

Another part of the issue has to do with the many moving pieces in a hospital. Nurses can easily trip over cords for equipment. Or, medical staffers in a certain department might never have been told about a type of footwear that could have kept them safer on slick floors.