November is Falls Prevention Month, and Alberta Health Services (AHS) encourages Albertans to take steps to prevent falls and other injuries.

For children: Many falls occur in the home for children less than five years of age. Use safety equipment and actively watch young children to prevent serious falls and other injuries.

  • Use sturdy, wall-mounted gates at the top of all stairs and either a wall-mounted or pressure gate at the bottom.
  • Install safety devices on windows higher than ground level. Safety devices should be installed so they may be opened by an adult or older child without the use of any tools or special knowledge.
  • Move furniture away from windows and balcony rails to prevent children from climbing.
  • Secure furniture such as dressers and bookcases to the wall.
  • Use the playground checklist for children to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Always have your child wear a certified helmet while skiing, snowboarding, sledding, tobogganing or skating to lower the risk of head injuries.

 For older adultsOn average, one in three Albertans 65 and older will fall at least once a year. There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of falls.

  • Stay active. Regular physical activity builds balance, strength, and flexibility. Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning a new physical activity, and discuss strategies for staying active with limited mobility. Use supportive footwear and do activities with friends for socialization and safety. Watch for slippery surfaces during colder weather.
  • Check your vision. Changes to your vision might increase your risk of falling. Alberta Health covers the cost of an annual eye exam for adults ages 65 and older.
  • Review your medications. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist, and ask questions about side effects, such as feeling dizzy or sleepy. Keep a master list of medicines at home and with you when you go out.
  • Remove hazards: Keep floors and pathways clutter-free. Turn on lights on stairs.
  • Visit Finding Balance – a seniors’ falls prevention initiative developed by the Injury Prevention Centre (IPC) at the University of Alberta.

If you fall or are seriously injured, get the appropriate care, promptly. People with life-threatening emergencies should visit their nearest emergency department or call 911. If your condition is not life-threatening, you may be re-directed to Health Link at 811.

Information provided by Alberta Health Services

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