Stairs are an essential part of life, especially here in New York City. But when you lose your balance and gravity takes over, they can be downright dangerous. Over a million people get injured in stairway falls each year on average. However, if you do lose your balance on the stairs, the way you fall can make a big difference in minimizing your risk of injury. Let’s talk about some tips about the “safest” way to fall if you happen to lose your balance on the stairs.
Crouch and curl into a ball.
Try to crouch nearer the stairs as best as you can and picture yourself tucking into a ball. This does two things: it lowers your center of gravity to reduce the impacts of falling, and it prompts you instinctively to protect your body. Tuck your legs and try to cover your head with your arms to minimize the impact as you fall.
Avoid the urge to break your fall.
When we lose our balance, we instinctively stick our arms out to try and keep from falling. Unfortunately, this is the most common way to get injured when falling downstairs because your full weight comes down on your arms and wrists. You’re going to fall—it’s inevitable. Let it happen. Your goal now isn’t to stop the fall, but to protect yourself while the fall happens.
Aim for the wall.
If you’re in a stairwell with walls, try to aim for the wall as you fall. This not only helps to “slow your roll,” so to speak, but it reduces the chance of you catching a railing on the other side—or worse, hurling over it.
Again, our standard impulse when falling is to stiffen up—to brace ourselves for impact. But think of it this way: when soft things hit, they recoil, and when hard things hit, they break. Stiffened limbs and joints are more likely to snap during a fall downstairs. Resist that urge. Instead, keep your arms and legs bent and loose even while covering yourself. This allows your body to move and shift with each impact and lowers the risk of injury.
These measures aren’t guaranteed to prevent all injuries when falling down a flight of stairs, but doing them may help you survive the fall with fewer or lesser injuries. If you lost your balance on the stairs due to a landlord’s negligence (e.g., water/ice or obstructions on the stairs), you may be eligible to be compensated for your injuries with a personal injury claim. The lawyers as Campson & Campson have an excellent track record of success with slip-and-fall cases for our clients. Call our offices at (212) 302-1180 today for a free case evaluation.