Finally, the snow is melting, tulips are blooming, and spring has sprung! Well, maybe spring hasn’t exactly sprung yet but we know it will, sooner or later. I think it’s fair to say that most people feel a new kind of energy as spring arrives. We’re excited to get outside more, be more active, play in the dirt and enjoy the outdoors again in ways that we haven’t been able to throughout the winter.
As an injury prevention coordinator, I start to wonder what we can all do to keep ourselves safe from preventable injuries during the spring time. And, what do we do differently in the spring than in winter that might have some risk attached to it?
I know a lot of people are excited to get out their quads, side by sides and dirt bikes now that there is a lot less snow. But I also know that while riding an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) or ORV (off-road vehicle) can be great fun, there are some very real dangers and risks associated with them, especially for children and youth. These youngsters experience much higher than average rates of injuries and hospitalizations as a result of riding ATVs.
I know that toddlers, children and youth are excited to get back on their trikes, bikes, scooters and skateboards because they can finally see the pavement again, or at least some hard packed dirt instead of snow and ice. But I also know that they’re still young, they don’t always remember to wear a helmet or look both ways, and drivers who aren’t used to seeing young children riding on the roadways don’t always remember to slow down and watch for pedestrians.
I know that many people are in spring cleaning mode and are eager to clean, purge, get rid of, and sell many things that have been cluttering up their garage all winter. But I also know that people will unknowingly sell unsafe or illegal items, such as baby walkers, expired car seats or booster seats, and baby gates, just to name a few.
I also approached a few of my co-workers and asked them, “When you think of spring time and injuries, what things come to mind?” and every single one of them said slipping or falling on ice was their biggest concern. While I was a bit surprised that this was a unanimous response, their concern is warranted, considering falls are the number one injury that require hospitalization across the north, and indeed, across B.C. So now I ask you: “What injury risks are you aware of as spring approaches and what can you do to prevent an injury?” Let’s make this spring injury-free across northern B.C.!
About Lynette Hewitt
Lynette Hewitt works in Fort St. John as an Injury Prevention Coordinator for Northern Health. After receiving a BScN from UNBC, Lynette traveled a bit, then returned to her hometown of Fort St. John where she worked in med/surg, public health nursing, and home nursing care before settling into her current role. When not at work, she is trying to keep up with life as a busy wife and mom, which may or may not include time for snowshoeing, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, geocaching and, for a few short months, gardening!