Holidays should be fun, but common holiday accidents can make them a pain. Let’s avoid too much celebrating and too many distractions and instead stay safe, sound and alive during the year-end holiday season.
What are the most common holiday accidents?
Some of the most common holiday accidents involve decorating a Christmas tree or a home. In fact, in recent years, as many as 13,000 Americans have gone to emergency rooms in November and December for injuries suffered while holiday decorating, says federal agency the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Most such injuries are due to falls. People simply aren’t used to standing on ladders or step stools to hang decorations — much less getting on top of a roof. When they do these things without experience and know-how they can suffer painful if not deadly falls.
A CNN report indicates that the three most common falls during the holidays involve:
- Children who want to help decorate but wind up with concussions or head lacerations
- Middle-aged men who have been drinking alcohol before decorating and hurt their wrists or shoulders
- Older men or women who hang lights outside the home and injure their neck or head
But falls are far from the only common holiday accidents. Fires are another hazard, and the first thing to catch on fire often is a Christmas tree.
To avoid a fiery tree, follow these tips from the CPSC:
- Make sure you buy a fresh tree — the greener the better, and with needles that don’t break off easily
- Place your tree far from heat sources such as fireplaces or air conditioning vents
- Avoid placing decorations with heat on the tree
- Make sure any artificial tree you buy has a “fire resistant” label
Fires also can be sparked by candles, which are common holiday decorations. Try to use flameless candles, and if you do light candles, place them far from things which can catch on fire easily, and blow them out when you’re not present.
Holiday turkeys also can be a fire element, especially when people mistakenly try to fry a frozen turkey, whose moisture can drip into oil and cause a splatter and fire. Allow several days for a turkey to thaw out in your refrigerator.
Holiday Drinking Causes Accidents
Holiday drinking as part of partying or celebrations also causes accidents, both in and out of the home. In the home, alcohol use can lead to injuries with cooking knives. Outside, it can lead to car wrecks.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, last year brought 41 traffic fatalities on Thanksgiving weekend, 37 traffic deaths on Christmas weekend and 32 crash fatalities on New Year’s weekend.
During the 2014-2015 Christmas holiday season alone, TxDOT reported 190 serious injuries and 110 fatalities in drunk-driving collisions.
“In spite of increased police presence on roadways and hiked traffic fees and fines, holidays continue to be among the most dangerous days to drive,” TxDOT says. Contributing factors include more drivers on roads, more drivers under the influence of alcohol and bad weather.
Remember: Safety First
Also be wary of impulsively trying out new gifts such as bicycles, scooters, knives, firearms or flying toys. Remember: Safety first.
Jim Adler & Associates wishes you very merry and happy holidays — and hopes you realize that a big part of that involves safety.