Safety Tips for Preventing the Occurrence of a Spinal Cord Injury
Many spinal cord injuries can be prevented through the use of safe practices. Spinal cord injury prevention is crucial to decreasing the prevalence and impact of these injuries.
Motor Vehicle Safety
- Always wear a seat belt
- Follow the rules of the road
- Obey speed limits
- Make sure that infants, toddlers, and young children are properly restrained in an approved child safety seat.
- Replace infant car seat with a new one if involved in an accident.
- Ensure that all children 12 years old and younger ride in the back seat of the vehicle.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not ride in a car with a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Avoid cell phone usage while driving. It is just as distracting as driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Make sure banisters and handrails are secure at all stairwells.
- Place non-slip mats on the bathtub and shower floor.
- Install grab bars in the bathtub and shower.
- Keep floors clear of debris.
- Move all electrical and phone cords out of walkways.
- Wear sturdy non-slip shoes.
- Use lights along sidewalks and walkways at night.
- Use a sturdy step stool with hand rails when reaching for objects on high shelves.
- Follow medication dosages closely. Misuse of medication may lead to dizziness, weakness, and other side effects.
- Exercise regularly to maintain muscle tone and balance.
Sports and Recreational Activities Safety
- Do not dive in water less than 12 ft. deep.
- Do not dive into water that is unfamiliar or the bottom is unclear.
- Follow all rules at water parks and swimming pools.
- Wear appropriate safety gear when participating in sport activities.
- Always wear a helmet when participating in the following activities: bike/motorcycle riding, skating, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, baseball, football, hockey, and horseback riding.
- Get a new helmet if in an accident.
- Avoid uneven or unpaved surfaces when cycling or skateboarding.
- Use proper football blocking and tackling techniques.
- Always wear protective padding.
- Discard and replace sporting equipment or protective gear that is damaged.
- Keep firearms stored unloaded in a locked cabinet or safe.
- Store all ammunition in a separate location.
- Never point a firearm directly at anyone.
- Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Explain to children that guns are dangerous and they should never touch them.
Preventing Secondary Conditions For People With SCI
- Eat a well balanced diet.
- Frequently change your position in a chair/wheelchair and in bed to prevent pressure sores.
- Examine your skin daily. Pay special attention to bony areas such as heels, elbows, tail bone, and shoulder blades.
- Exercise frequently (with physician approval) to improve respiratory function, increase bone strength, regulate bodily functions, and possibly decrease plasticity/muscle spasms.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated in order to benefit your skin, urinary tract, and bowel function.
- Establish a good relationship with your physician. Schedule regular check ups.