Most Common Holiday Accidents & How to Avoid Them
While you deck the halls this holiday season, make sure you don’t fall. Falls are just one of the many common accidents that increase in frequency around the holidays. It might be the season to be jolly, but that shouldn’t include danger. Recognizing the most common accidents that occur on national holidays can help you and your family members stay safe this season and start the New Year on the right foot.
The season from November through December sees about 15,000 emergency room admissions related to holiday decorating. Don’t let a fun holiday tradition turn into tragedy. Stay safe while putting up your decorations. If you need to climb a ladder, make sure the ladder is in good condition. Only decorate from heights you feel comfortable climbing, and do so with a buddy nearby.
Use a personal fall protection device such as a harness if you have to get up on the roof to decorate. Falls, lacerations, and back strains are the most common decorating-related injuries of the season. When in doubt, hire a professional to decorate the exterior of your home for you. It’s better to spend your money on professional decorators than on hospital bills.
House Fires and Burn Injuries
When temperatures drop, heating and fire-related accidents rise. The holiday season poses many unique fire threats, but Christmas trees are at the top of the list. Firefighters respond to an average of 200 house fires per year that start with Christmas trees. Christmas trees, especially dry ones, can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.
Keep your tree well-watered all season long, and get rid of it once it dies and dries up. Keep fire hazards such as candles and electrical equipment safely away from the tree. From 2011 to 2015, 26% of Christmas tree fires and 80% of related deaths stemmed from a heat source too close the tree. Be careful with all sources of heat, and make sure your smoke detectors are working.
The holidays present the opportunity to string up hundreds of lights, install electrical lawn ornaments, plug in space heaters, and otherwise rack up the electric bill. It’s important, however, to enjoy your lights and technology in safety. Electrical accidents can lead to sparking wires, electric shocks, electrocution, and house fires.
Check each set of lights before you string them up, looking for broken, cracked, or exposed wires. Throw out any that look unsafe. Check your extension cords, and make sure you use indoor and outdoor ones correctly. Only plug outdoor lights into ground-fault circuit interrupter-protected receptacles.
Food-Related Injuries and Illnesses
For many, the best part of the holidays is the food. Unfortunately, improper and unsafe food preparation can lead to a range of injuries and illnesses. Every year, hospitals treat more than 100,000 people for scalding accidents. Turkey fryers reach average temperatures of 350 degrees and can cause third-degree burns. Thaw your turkey in a controlled environment, refrigerate items properly, and cook food all the way through to help prevent foodborne illnesses and food poisoning.
The best way to celebrate the holidays is to do so in safety.