Deck The Halls with Caution This Season
Holiday Decorating Can Lead to Injuries
Once Halloween is over, the holiday season is in full swing come November 1st. Starting with Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, people decorate left and right for the holidays. The Christmas trees come out, wreaths are hung, the yard decorations are put in place, the lights are strung up over the home and the landscape, and menorahs are lit, all to decorate for this festive time of the year. However, decorating has hidden hazards and excising caution can help prevent common injuries.
Rushing Takes a Toll
The holiday season is often the busiest season for most people. Not only are folks scrambling to get things done at work before the end of the year, but they are also juggling holiday shopping, planning events, family visits, decorating, baking, and much more. The lack of time can cause some people to rush through their decorating so they can get it done quickly. However, rushing the decorating process is not a great idea as it can lead to minor or severe injuries. Rushing through decorating can lead to shortcuts and safety hazards.
For example, climbing a ladder without taking the time to ensure its stability can lead to a serious fall. This can cause broken bones or head and neck injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 160 decorating-related injuries occur each day during the holiday season. Half of those recorded injuries are incidents involving falls. These incidents can be avoided so long as safety precautions are in place. If a ladder is necessary to decorate, make sure it is placed on a flat surface and is stable. Do not stand on any unstable furniture to hang decorations. Being aware of the risks can help mitigate the injuries this year.
Falls from roofs are another common injury at this time of year. Installing lights, gutter clips and shingle clips can lead to sliding off the roof or falling from a ladder. A roof may not seem very steep from the ground but once you are up there, it will feel a lot steeper. A wise idea is to have a tether or rope to secure you to the roof to prevent falls.
Christmas lights are a time-honored tradition during the Christmas season but pose a very real threat to health and safety as well. Plugging in lights that are old or have frayed wires can lead to serious injuries via electrocution or cause electrical shorts which can lead to house fires. Often, extension cords are used to light all the decorations in the house, and if not placed properly, could be a tripping hazard. Place the extension cords in a place that is out of the way and cannot be tripped over. Do not plug in too many light strands and never exceed 210 watts when combined as to not short the circuit. When bulbs on a strand of lights burn out, replace the bulb right away, as it is dangerous to have plugged in lights with empty sockets. When replacing bulbs, check to make sure it is the correct wattage as well. These are less obvious safety measures to take, but ones that can make a difference in staying safe over the holidays.
While candles are a year-round decoration for the home, they are also a popular holiday decoration. A candle set next to a dry Christmas tree can quickly turn into a disaster. A study conducted by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that from 2016 to 2018, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires in November and December of each year. This resulted in 30 deaths, 180 injuries, and nearly $56 million in property loss per year. While one might think this will not happen to them, it is best to eliminate any possibility. Place candles away from the Christmas tree and anything flammable and blow the candle out before leaving the room. Keep the tree well-watered so it does not dry out and become a fire hazard. For those who celebrate Hanukkah and light a menorah, do not leave it unattended. Place the menorah on a sturdy surface so it does not get knocked over. Keep menorahs and candles out of reach from pets and children. One of the worst things that could happen is a house fire originating from a candle or decoration.
Unfortunately, an estimated 18,000 Americans go to the emergency room every year for injuries caused by Christmas décor, reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A study conducted by Safer America noted that women are injured slightly more often than men when it came to holiday decorating. The most common injuries found in the emergency room from decorating were lacerations, strains and sprains, fractures, contusions and abrasions, and ingestion (Safer America). Do not end up at the emergency room this year for any reason and be smart when decorating your home.
Holiday decorating should be a fun experience with loved ones that gets everyone in the holiday spirit. Please keep these helpful decorating tips in mind to avoid any serious injuries over the holidays this year. While we hope this is never the case, if you experience an injury due to the negligence of someone else or a defective product, please reach out to us at (843) 720-2800. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help you with your case and offer free consultations.