You may be looking forward to the holidays, and rightly so. It’s one of the happiest times of year for many people, full of gatherings of family and friends. Imagine your holiday celebration ending with a trip to the emergency room. Nothing will put a damper on your festivities quite like the requirement for medical treatment.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 15,000 people end up in the ER every year due to injuries sustained during the holidays. It’s important to note that these injuries are sustained putting up or taking down holiday decorations. Those 15,000 patients don’t include those that have been in car accidents or sustained burns while cooking the traditional holiday feast.
If you are going to be decorating this season or are responsible for taking the decorations down, here are some tips to follow to keep yourself safe and free of injury.
About one-third of all injuries treated in emergency rooms during the holiday season involve falling from a ladder. Those injured are predominantly males and they are between the ages of 60 and 85. These men have been performing labor their whole lives and tend to forget that they aren’t as spry as they used to be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of these injuries are sustained while putting up or taking down lights.
Before you head up the ladder, make sure that you don’t exceed its weight limit. Look at the rungs closely to make sure they aren’t cracked or broken. Ask someone to come outside with you and act as a spotter or, better yet, to hold the ladder while you are on it.
Fire-related injuries occur every year. Among the top causes are menorahs and other holiday candles. While Christmas tree fires tend to make the news, 51 percent of home fires in December are caused by open flames according to the National Safety Council. The top days for home fires caused by candles? Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
If you are going to light candles this year, make sure that they aren’t next to any flammable items. Keep hair, curtains, stockings and other items away from open flames. If a candle needs to burn continuously due to your religious beliefs, place the candle on a metal tray, in a glass container, or in a basin filled with water.
Yes. Christmas trees are a cause of injury and fire. There are an average of more than 200 home fires caused by Christmas trees each year. Approximately 1 in every 31 Christmas tree fires reported to officials result in death. Keeping a tree away from open flames is always a good idea.
Additionally, check light strings before you hang them on the tree. If a wire is frayed or exposed, toss the set and buy a new one. Turn off the tree when you leave the house or go to bed. If you have a fresh tree, throw it away or stop lighting it up when the needles dry out. A dry tree that catches fire can burn down a home very quickly:
Anything you will hang in your home, set on your mantle or display on your tree should be checked before it is put out. There are hazards abound that you may not even be aware of. Some include:
There is nothing wrong with having a few adult beverages during the holiday season, but drinking and decorating can be dangerous. Alcohol inhibits your ability to maintain proper balance and make good decisions. Save the drinking for a small “the decorating is done” celebration. Kick back, enjoy the fruits of your labor and enjoy a drink or two. Just don’t do it in the midst of decorating.
Decorating the home for the holidays is a tradition for many families. While many people will decorate without incident, thousands will find themselves in the ER. Don’t count yourself among the thousands. Use the tips above as a safety guide to your holiday decorating this year.
If you are injured during the holidays, you may be able to seek compensation for those injuries. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your injuries and advise you of any available legal options. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm.