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How To Prevent Falls On Stairs

Accidents are an unfortunate part of life, but none of us likes the idea of experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of an accident within our own home. Unfortunately, slips, trips and falls are incredibly common – in the workplace, on the street and even on our own staircases. Falls on stairs may be more common in elderly individuals who may suffer from visual impairment or poor balance, but the ways to prevent falls on stairs are the same for all age demographics.

outdoor stairs

Handrails reduce the risk of falling on the stairs.

To prevent falls on stairs, follow these tips:

1. Invest in better lighting.

It may seem a strange suggestion, but lighting plays a major role in how easy or safe a staircase can be. Poorly lit areas make it harder for individuals to distinguish where steps start and end, and this can lead to insecure footing and falls or slips.

The trick is to make sure the light is well positioned to increase visibility across the entire length and width of the staircase. Use a suitable wattage bulb to suit the visibility needs which you have. Having a light switch at the top and bottom of the staircase is also recommended.

2. Secure the flooring.

It’s not just what’s above you that is important – what sits below is equally vital. With staircases, loose carpet or rugs and mats can pose a real risk to users. This is because they are unstable and can move underfoot, resulting in potentially dangerous accidents.

To cut down on the likelihood of experiencing a trip or fall on the staircase, make sure that any carpet is secured down professionally. If you notice loose edges or frayed threads, then get them corrected as soon as possible, as small problems like this can soon escalate.

It also recommended to keep any loose mats or rugs away from areas which surround the staircase. The edges of these can curl, providing the perfect catalyst to a trip or fall when caught by your foot. Eliminate this risk by using mats and rugs in another area.

3. Evaluate the staircase.

Another tip you can use to reduce your chances of falling on the stairs is to evaluate your staircase from an impartial perspective. You can get mathematical and look at step geometry (which analyzes different dimensions on the staircase) as well as looking at other practical considerations – such as whether there is sufficient support provided by handrails.

The safest staircases are those framed by handrails which run the entire length of the staircase on either side, but there are other options. Those who really struggle with the stairs, not just through fear of falling but because of poor mobility or aching joints, can use stairlifts instead. These offer a comfortable seat which travels the length of the staircase in both directions and helps reduce falls as a result.

This article is written on behalf of Stannah Stairlifts, who provide mobility aids to rent or purchase.

Image Credit: A. Schaeffer on stock.xchng

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