Posted in News on November 13, 2018
There is no worse holiday interruption than a personal injury. Unfortunately, the holidays are some of the worst times of year for car accidents, slip and falls, fires, electric shocks, criminal activity, and other serious incidents. One of the steps you can take toward protecting your family this season is by spreading awareness of the most common holiday injuries and how to avoid them.
Enjoy holiday cheer without fear – make celebrating the season fun and safe with the following tips.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Snow and ice accumulation during a Montana winter can be a significant source of personal injury accidents; namely, slip and falls. Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries and deaths in Montanans ages 65 and older. Common slip and fall injuries around the holidays include wrist fractures, hip fractures, and traumatic brain injuries.
Although property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe around the holidays (e.g., shoveling snow and keeping Christmas light cords out of walkways), they can’t always deal with weather conditions soon enough. Don’t assume a property owner has salted a walkway or otherwise dealt with dangerous snow or ice. Instead, walk carefully and watch for unsafe conditions.
Holiday Decorating Injuries
Hanging lights and decorating your lawn for the holidays can come with significant personal injury risks. Some of the most common accidents while decorating include falls from roofs, staple-gun injuries, electrocutions, and décor-related fires. Holiday decorations cause an average of over 1,000 house fires per year (excluding Christmas trees).
Electric extension cords cause an additional 4,000 injuries, including fractures from falls and electrical burns. Decking the halls doesn’t have to mean risking a major personal injury. Pay attention, be careful, don’t allow children to play with lights, and check all electric cords for damage before decorating this year.
Fire and Burn Injuries
Holiday cooking, bringing out the old space heater, hanging last year’s Christmas lights, putting up a tree, lighting menorah candles – all these activities can pose serious fire and burn injury risks. Christmas trees alone start an average of 200 home fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires cause an average of six deaths, 16 injuries, and almost $15 million in property damage.
Decorations too close to heat sources, leaving candles burning overnight, failing to supervise food while cooking, and setting off fireworks around New Year’s are all common causes of fires and bad burn injuries around the holidays. Be aware of potential fire risks and do your best to prevent them. For example: once your Christmas tree begins to dry out, get rid of it. Don’t use old, damaged lights. Check your heating system and space hater before cranking up the heat.
Holiday travel can be a significant source of personal injury and death. Drunk and drowsy drivers, negligent hotel security, and luggage-related injuries are all risks you may face while traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas. In 2015, Christmas day car accidents took 273 lives, while Thanksgiving day saw 386 car accident fatalities. Drunk driving can spike around the holidays, making for particularly dangerous roadways.
Map your route ahead of time to avoid the worst periods of traffic congestion. If you’ll be driving through snow or bad weather, plan accordingly. Never drink and drive after a holiday party. Research the safest hotels on your drive, and make sure to ask a hotel employee to accompany you to the parking lot if you’ll be arriving late at night. Try to avoid lifting heavy luggage yourself; instead, ask an employee for assistance.
Safe holiday decorating and travel start with making a conscious effort to prevent and avoid personal injuries. Enjoy your holiday season without a trip to the hospital with these tips!