How to Avoid Holiday Injuries

How to Avoid Holiday Injuries

Araby Scott, Contributor

Many families spend the holiday season decorating their homes. Unfortunately, it is estimated that a total of 15,000 people in the United States are injured due to holiday decorations. The injuries could be caused from electrical failure, gifts left next to fireplaces, falling Christmas trees, or unattended candles. CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) Acting Chairman Robert Adler, stated, “There are about 250 injuries a day during the holiday season. Adding safety to your checklist can keep a holiday tradition from becoming a holiday tragedy.”

The most common injury, accounting for thirty-four percent of all holiday accidents, is falling whilst hanging lights. When hanging up lights, make sure that another person is holding the ladder securely. Be aware of where your feet are placed on the rungs and how far off the ground you are. Do not attempt to climb a ladder in wind heavy winds or storms, do not place a ladder in front of doors that could open into the ladder, wear proper slip resistant shoes, and always inspect the ladder’s condition before use.

Even though getting injured during the holiday season is fairly common, taking the necessary precautions around fire, lights, candles, and tress can protect you and your family. While fun and decorative, fire salts, which change the color of the flame, can be extremely dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns, “They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten.” Considering the severity of the side effects of consuming fire salts, they should be kept away from children and pets. Another common but dangerous holiday practice is burning wrapping paper in the fireplace. Wrapping paper being burned could ignite violently and spontaneously, causing a flash fire to erupt.

Christmas lights should be hung with care, and not placed around anything flammable. Christmas lights should be hung using hooks or staples around the wire, as to not damage the electrical inside. When removing the lights do not pull or tug on them to get them down. Be cautious as to what tree and light combination you have, the association of home inspectors warns, “Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.” Candles should be watched when burned and never left lit overnight.

When placing a Christmas tree, keep it away from heat sources. When purchasing a live Christmas tree, make sure that the tree is healthy and hydrated, not dry and brittle. When buying an artificial  tree look on the box for a fire resistant label. When setting up the tree make sure that it is stable and will not fall over on pets or unsuspecting victims.

This holiday season, make sure you are mindful of proper ladder safety, fire safety, choking hazards, and Christmas tree placement. But most importantly during the holiday season, enjoy time with friends and family, eat good food and give incredible gifts.