Nothing takes the fun out of the holiday season like spending time in the ER for an injury. Unfortunately, this a time of year injuries are common. The Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks ER visits and found that from 2011 to 2015 there were 1,700 injuries that were clearly Christmas related with many more likely going unreported or not as obviously related to Christmas activities. Avoid these common holiday injuries and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas Lights Dangers

Injuries related to Christmas lights are one of the most common injuries. And if you breathe a sigh of relief in December after the lights are hung and you are safely back on the ground, remember you are going to have to take those lights down again. Falling off ladders or rooftops is no laughing matter and can result in serious injury and even death.

Make sure any ladder you use is in good repair and is tall enough to reach without having to stretch or stand on the top steps. Make sure the ladder is secure at the base and always have someone on hand to support the ladder and make sure it does not tip over.

Fire Hazards

November to February sees more house fires than the rest of the year. A year doesn’t go by that a tragic house fire, that has destroyed a family’s home and taken the lives of one or more family members, doesn’t appear on the local news. Possessions can be replaced, but the scars from fire injuries or the loss of a loved one are permanent.

Make sure when you select a live Christmas tree that you choose a fresh tree and keep it watered daily. As beautiful as the tree looks in your living room, it is generally best to take it down soon after the Christmas season, before it dries out and becomes a greater fire hazard.

Ensure all extension cords and light sets are free of frayed insulation or exposed wires. Make sure any lights or cords used outdoors are rated for outdoor use. Pets and other animals like to chew on cords, so keep all cords out of their reach, to avoid potential fires from damaged wires.

Winter Related Injuries

During the winter months, weather conditions lead to car accidents and falls on icy sidewalks and steps. Many injuries also occur each year from people shoveling snow and overexerting themselves, resulting in back injuries and heart attacks.

Slow down during snow or icy conditions while driving. Pay attention to weather reports and try to avoid any unnecessary travel by planning ahead. When walking, remain focused on the path in front of you and use handrails for all steps and stairs. Take care to avoid dehydration, which can sneak up on you as you shovel heavy snow. Take frequent breaks and pay attention to signals from your body that warn you of overexertion. Better to pay to have someone shovel the drive for you than to pay medical expenses and miss time from work. Remain cautious and vigilant of hazards during this time of year to stay safe and have a happy holiday season.