Safety During the Holidays

Submitted By: Jody Van Cooney

The Christmas holiday season can bring on challenges, especially for seniors, that aren’t in the usual realm of daily activities. This includes climbing ladders, reaching to hang tree ornaments, and shopping, among other things.

On average, each year over 100 people in Lee County die from a fall. Most people are surprised to learn that more people will die from falls than from motor vehicle crashes. Falls are not a normal part of aging. In fact, most falls can be prevented. It’s important to recognize the possibility of falls.

The season brings an increased risk of injuries from falls as people use ladders, stools and other furniture to hang lights, ornaments, and other decorations. By taking a few small precautions, you can reduce the number of injuries due to falls. Make sure the ladder is on a secure and level footing before climbing. Make sure step ladders are securely locked open. Never use a folding step ladder when it is closed. And a big “no-no” is using furniture as a ladder! Use of extension cords to help plug in all the decorations also poses a hazard during the holiday season.

People in Southwest Florida who are looking for last minute gift ideas for seniors are encouraged to give something that can help keep them safer from falls. Some suggestions include plug-in night lights, non-slip mats, handrails for the bathroom, cordless phones, and slippers with sole grips.

Holiday shopping and holiday parties are a part of everyone’s schedule.
While heading out for that shopping expedition, be aware of pedestrians in mall parking lots and along streets. Watch out for small kids and distracted drivers in parking lots. If you’re a pedestrian and there isn’t a sidewalk available, walk facing traffic, never assume a driver sees you, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible, and be visible-wear light, bright clothing in the day and reflective material at night.

Once inside a shop, be alert to those around you. If you have lots of packages, take them to the car. Be sure to put them out of sight (in the trunk) and lock the vehicle; don’t invite criminals to help themselves to your newly-purchased gift items.

The Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition hopes you have a safe holiday season. It serves as a collaborative effort or partnership whose function is to facilitate partners’ work and act as a catalyst for injury prevention initiatives. Its mission is to prevent injury, disability, and death through advocacy, education, legislation, and partnerships.

For additional information on the Injury Prevention Coalition or holiday safety, please contact Brian Raimondo at or 239-330-2240.


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