Cold Weather Injury Prevention

cold weather injury prevention

Winter brings about cozy nights, festive holidays, and snow. As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, the risk of cold weather injuries increases. These injuries can range from mild to severe, and they can have a major impact on your health. In severe cases, they can even turn deadly. In this blog, the personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe offer some cold weather injury prevention advice and give you some tips on how to stay safe this winter. 

Cold Weather Injuries Statistics

According to the National Safety Council (NSC): 

  • Winter weather was the second top cause of weather-related deaths in 2022
  • Over 19% of weather-related deaths in 2022 were caused by winter weather
  • Over the past five years, cold weather was the top cause of weather-related injuries in the United States
  • While heat illness caused the most weather-related deaths in 2022, cold weather was the top cause of weather-related injuries
  • There were 15,122 total winter weather events in 2022
  • December had the highest number of cold weather injuries and deaths 

Cold Weather Injury Prevention Tips

  1. Dress for the weather

This is one of the most important cold weather injury prevention tips. Start with a base layer of thermal underwear made of wool or synthetic material, followed by a mid-layer of fleece or wool, and top it off with a wind- and water-resistant outer layer. Be sure to wear a hat, gloves, face mask, a scarf, and warm socks to prevent frostbite

  1. Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia 

Hypothermia happens much faster than we realize. Most often, hypothermia occurs during very low temperatures. However, it can occur even in temperatures above 40°F. This can happen if your body loses heat faster than it can generate it, putting you at risk even in milder weather. Wet, rainy weather, windy conditions, lack of proper clothing, sweating, and submersion in cold water can result in hypothermia. Symptoms include: 

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Fumbling hands and clumsiness
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  1. Know the wind chill 

Being aware of the wind chill is another important cold weather injury prevention tip. The wind chill temperature is not the actual temperature of the air, but  what the temperature feels like. For example, if the air temperature is 20°F and the wind speed is 15 mph, the wind chill temperature will be -2°F. Before heading out into the cold, check the wind chill forecast.

  1. Manage your space heater 

Space heaters are a great way to stay toasty this winter, but they are not without dangers. When using a space heater, keep all flammable objects at least three feet away. Never use space heaters as a primary heat source in your home. Place space heaters on flat, level surfaces to prevent tipping. If you can, try to purchase a model with an automatic shut-off safety feature. This will help prevent possible fires and burn injuries.

  1. Take precautions to prevent falls

Slippery sidewalks and snow-covered roads can be dangerous in cold weather. Icy sidewalks and snow-covered roads can be treacherous. Wear shoes with good traction to prevent slips and falls. Additionally, slow down and take your time when walking on slippery surfaces. Make sure to remove snow from walkways and salt your sidewalks, especially if you are having guests over for the holidays as you can be held liable for their injuries under premises liability laws.

  1. Insulate your home

Properly insulating your home is one of the most effective ways to stay warm and comfortable during the winter months. Check your attic and walls and have any older insulation replaced or added. Seal any air leaks around your windows and doors with weatherstripping, caulk, or shrink film. 

  1. Drink responsibly

During the winter months, there are many occasions like the holidays where drinking is a part of the celebration. Combining alcohol and cold weather can be a dangerous mix. Along with impairing judgment, alcohol dilates blood vessels near the skin, making you feel warm initially. This causes your body to lose heat faster, potentially leading to hypothermia. 

  1. Be careful when participating in winter sports 

Winter sports and cold weather activities like sledding are highlights of the season for many. These activities lead to sweating, which, in cold weather, can pose a significant risk for a cold weather injury. Sweat evaporates from the skin, taking heat with it. This can rapidly lower your body temperature, especially if you’re not wearing the right clothing. Wear a wicking base layer that draws sweat away from your skin and keeps you dry. Stay hydrated as dehydration can impair your performance and increase your susceptibility to a cold weather injury. 

Injured in Cold Weather? Contact Lerner and Rowe 

By following these cold weather injury prevention tips, you can stay safe and toasty warm this winter. If you or a family member suffered a cold weather injury due to the negligence or recklessness of another, Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys can help.  

Call us today at 844-977-1900 or use our LiveChat feature. Our representatives are available 24/7 to answer your inquiry. You can also submit your case information through our online contact form. Consultations are free, so don’t hesitate to contact us. There is no fee unless your case is won.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.