Riverwood staffers bike together weekly. Pictured are Wendy Franke, Angie Kjelstrom and Angie Kuppich.By Kelsey Guthmiller, trauma program manager at Riverwood Healthcare Center
The leaves have begun to change and that means the start of school, hunting season, and yard cleanup in preparation for the winter months. Fall is a beautiful season up in lakes country but with the change of the season comes some risks.
Trauma is the fourth leading cause of death for all ages. To help prevent accidental injuries, remember to follow a few safety tips.
1. Bike safely. Make certain drivers can see you. Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright clothing. Helmets appropriate for bicycling should be worn by everyone – adults and children – on every bike ride regardless of length of the ride.
2. Stop for school buses. The start of school means that school buses will be back on the roads. It is a Minnesota law that motorists stop for school buses when the red lights are flashing, and the stop arm is out. This gesture can help safe children’s lives as they travel to and from school.
3. Follow hunting/tree stand rules. Tree stands are one of the leading causes of hunter injuries. Using a safety harness with a twelve-inch safety strap can help prevent a fall from elevation. Always have three points of contact with the tree and stand when climbing. Always carry communication devices whether it be a phone or a walkie talkie. When possible, hunt with a buddy or let loved ones know where you’ll be hunting and when you’ll be back.
4. Ride ATVs safely. Always wear a helmet. If the ATV is rated for a single rider, don’t ride with a passenger. Supervise riders that are younger than 16. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drinking and driving an ATV is still Drunk Driving and Law enforcement could issue a DWI in order to keep the roads and trails safe for everyone.
5. Use caution when burning. Fall leaves mean burning season. Never burn when the conditions are windy or dry, fires can quickly get out of control in these conditions. Make sure to burn in an open area away from low hanging trees and power lines. NEVER, in any circumstance, throw accelerant or fuel on a fire or hot coals.
6. Prevent falls. Falling is the leading cause of injury among older people. Make sure to wear good fitting shoes, secure rugs to the floor, and use assistive devices such as a walker or cane to help with balance as needed.
“These tips are a great way to keep everyone safe from preventable injuries this season,” said Dr. David Taylor, chief medical officer and emergency medicine physician at Riverwood. “Our emergency department team at Riverwood Healthcare Center is always prepared to care for traumatic injuries and illness. In case of emergencies, never hesitate to call 9-1-1.”