When you were a kid, you fell down all the time. It was no big deal. However, unless you've made a career as an Olympic athlete or a stunt double, you probably haven't had too much experience falling lately-and you're likely out of practice. As a result, when you fall as an adult, you often do all of the wrong things-and you end up causing yourself more harm than necessary. Because you can't control every aspect of your environment, you're bound to slip or trip sooner or later. If you find yourself hurtling towards the ground, think fast and remember these tips to reduce your chance of injury: Don't: · Listen to your instincts. They're telling you to reach out and break your fall with whatever limb you have available. This is a bad idea. Your wrist, your knee and your elbow all have one important trait in common: they're bony and thus highly susceptible to breakage. · Fall straight. Hitting the ground while moving straight forward or backward puts your head and spine in positions of serious risk. You could suffer whiplash, a concussion or a serious nervous system injury. Do: · Tuck and turn. Tuck in your limbs to prevent direct impact onto bone. Turn your body to the side and try to redirect impact onto the more padded areas of your body, such as your hip or buttocks. Falling in this way also more effectively protects your head and spine. · Keep it loose. Tensing up your body increases your likelihood of injury. Exhale and allow your body to flop. Slip-and-fall accidents can be serious. In the United States, they account for nearly 8 million emergency room visits each year. However, some of these injuries are avoidable. Share these tips with your family and friends to help keep them safe and healthy.