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Walk Like a Cat to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls

In Canada, we average 60,000 slip, trip, and fall injuries a year resulting in broken bones, scrapes, bruises, and head injuries. Individual and business costs associated with slips and falls on same-level surfaces are very high. In addition to the costs of recovery and loss of fruitful daily living, there is also the impact on the family. We too often forget about the resulting head trauma that can occur from a slip, trip, or fall.

Why are we struggling to prevent slips, trips, and falls? Certainly, the stats tell us there is a significant risk, especially as we age. Did you know in Canada, 95% of all hip fractures among adults are a direct result of falls? Did you know that as we age, we are more susceptible to falling? What can we do? The best action is to eliminate whatever is causing slips and trips. Items such as uneven surfaces, wet surfaces, ice, snow, clutter, spills, cords, and on and on. What about human behaviours?

I have an idea; I want to start a campaign called “Walk Like a Cat!” Seriously! When was the last time you saw a cat with a cast or injuries to the face from a fall? They are sure-footed little creatures and I think we can imitate their “safety controls”. There are 4 main reasons why cats do not slip, trip, and fall on level surfaces. For each of these reasons, I have provided the equivalent human control. Ready?

  1. Cats have paws with traction claws. Humans can achieve the same result with proper footwear, cleats, overshoes, winter boots, and non-skid shoes.

  2. Cats have four legs, instead of two, for stability. Human cans create their own stability by using handrails, canes, carts to carry items, and each other’s arms when desperate.

  3. Cats are close to the ground. Humans can wear low-heeled footwear, and keep walkways clear of snow, ice, and other hazards. When in a bad situation – crawl humans, crawl!

  4. Cats watch where they are going. This means for us, no carrying bags or being distracted by cell phones. Keep your line of sight clear, watch where you are walking, and put that phone down!

What do you think? Can we help each other to change our behaviours? Walk like a cat!


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