Top Winter Trauma Injuries Plus Prevention Tips


From cooking and baking to your favorite snowy sports, the winter season can be a time of great joy. But the cold weather also comes with extra precautions necessary to stay safe. 

Learn about the top adult injuries seen this season at emergency departments across Munson Healthcare plus expert tips on how to prevent them from occurring in the first place. 

Top injuries during the winter months 

1. Fall-related injuries

Slipping on ice is not on your to-do list this winter. Injuries from falls can lead to anything from broken bones to traumatic head injuries. For older adults especially, these types of injuries can be devastating – and even lead to a loss of independence. 

Expert tips:

  • Use cramp-on footwear like Yak Traks that go over your winter boots and help prevent slips
  • Widen your stance when walking 
  • Slow down and be aware of your surroundings 
  • Have a friend assist you when using a ladder, especially for activities like putting up or taking down holiday decorations or shoveling off your roof or gutter
  • Use walking sticks on your winter walks or hikes

2. Car accidents

As any Michigander will tell you, driving can be hazardous during the winter months. But when you’re prepared, it doesn’t have to be. 

Expert tips:

  • Avoid travel during peak hazardous conditions if you can
  • Take it slow. Remember, you may be sharing the road with someone who is driving hazardously. Increase your stopping distance, especially at yellow lights
  • Anticipate ice on curvy roads, bridges, and areas of the road in the shade
  • Never drink and drive, as alcohol can decrease your reaction time

3. Winter sports accidents

When accidents during winter sports like sledding, skiing, or snowboarding occur, they can result in anything from broken bones to internal bleeding and head injuries. 

“We aren’t asking anyone to stop doing the things they love,” says Korwin Schrock RN, Injury Prevention Coordinator for Munson Medical Center. “In fact, we encourage people to stay active and find fun ways to enjoy the winter weather. Just be sure to consider how to do these things as safely as possible.” 

Expert tips:

  • Always wear a helmet during winter sports, “Helmets drastically reduce the risk of head trauma and serious injury,” says Sarah Helveston, RN, Trauma Program Manager for Munson Medical Center.
  • Ensure children participating in winter sports have a properly fitting helmet
Chill Out for Winter Safety

4. Cuts

More time spent in the kitchen preparing food during the winter months is often a culprit of serious cuts. These types of injuries are also typically found in combination with other injuries. 

Expert tips:

  • Eliminate all distractions (think talking, looking at a recipe, etc.) when using sharp kitchen utensils, like knives and vegetable slicers 
  • Always use a sharp blade so less force needs to be exerted when cutting
  • Don’t leave sharp blades unattended 

5. Snowmobile-related accidents 

Snowmobiling can be a great way to get outside during the winter months. However, just like when operating any motor vehicle, drinking can substantially increase your risk of accidents and injury.

“An overwhelming number of injuries seen by our trauma departments occur when alcohol is thrown into the mix,” said Helveston. 

Expert tips:

  • Do not consume alcohol before hopping on a snowmobile
  • Check the weather conditions before you hit the trails
  • Don’t go too fast! Make sure you’re able to stop if unexpected hazards pop up on the trails 

Top tip for winter safety 

Our experts’ top tip for remaining safe this winter? Avoid pairing drinks with any activity that could be dangerous, like operating any equipment or vehicle or participating in winter sports.  

“During the holiday season and winter months, alcohol consumption tends to increase,” Helveston said. “Be responsible with your own alcohol consumption and remember that you are sharing the roads and trails with people who may be consuming alcohol."

If you or a loved one needs care

If you find yourself in need of care, we’ve got you covered. Whether you need primary care, urgent care, or emergency care, help is available. 

 Where to Go for Care

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