Keep you and your loved ones out of the ER this holiday season with some prevention tips on some of the most common holiday accidents and injuries.
This time of year brings joy, cheer, and festivity for most of us. The weather grows colder, nights grow longer, and every time we turn around, it’s another holiday celebration. As the winter season kicks into full swing, it is important that the excitement around holiday parties, off days from work, and traveling do not overpower what should be top of mind – safety.
The winter holiday season is known to bring a relaxed attitude. However, a seasonal spike in emergency room visits for common accidents has been seen around the country for years. Here are the facts:
- According to Business Insider, doctors around the country see a seasonal spike of 10% in ER hospital visits during the winter holidays.
- The National Fire Protection Association notes a consecutive pattern that 30% of all home fires occur during the months of December, January, and February annually – with crediting the most home fires due to candles on Christmas, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day. Also, Christmas tree fires account for twice the number of injuries than the average home fire.
- The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports an average of 5,800 individuals are seen at the hospital emergency rooms annually for injuries sustained from falls involving holiday decorations.
The same injuries are seen every year. Check out some of our tried-and-true advice to ensure you and your family remain safe, incident-free, and out of the emergency room this holiday season.
Winter Holiday Safety Tips
Holiday Traveling Preparation
In some parts of the country, roads present differently in the winter holiday months than in other parts of the year due to icy conditions or slippery roads. Also, with the influx of holidays in one season, many spend a lot of late nights at parties, which often means celebratory drinking and driving impairment. Researchers have found that during the holidays, motor vehicle transportation has the highest fatality rate of any significant form of transportation.
Here are some easy ways to prevent holiday traveling accidents:
- Avoid drowsy or impaired driving.
- Designate a sober driver before attending a holiday party.
- Plan for unusual traffic.
- Drive defensively and monitor surroundings.
Decorate with Precaution
It’s just decorations – simple, right?
This is not a place to cut corners. Whether climbing up a ladder to hang up lights around your house or wrapping presents, precautions must be taken to protect you from what may seem like even the simplest tasks. The ER is filled up every year with thousands of people suffering from injuries involving decorating – house fires, electrocution, slips & falls, severe cuts, and so much more.
Here are some essential tips to avoid holiday decorating accidents:
Christmas tree must-do’s
- Look for artificial trees labeled “fire resistant” for your home.
- Remember, for live trees, they must be watered and never left dry.
Holiday lights must-do’s
- Use indoor lights for indoor purposes only, and outdoor lights are for outdoor purposes only.
- The right ladder must be selected for hanging up lights outside the home. Also, it is strongly suggested to use the buddy system. Check out ladder safety here.
- Read the instructions on the number of lights that can go into each electricity socket.
- Keep wires away from puddles of water and snow.
- Make sure all lights are turned off when you leave your home. Keep the cords secure and organized to prevent tripping.
- Keep the cords secure and organized to prevent tripping.
Gift wrapping must-do’s
- Scissors and tape dispensers work perfectly fine. Never use sharp items like razor blades or pocket knives when opening or wrapping gifts.
Protected in the Kitchen
The holidays are known for the tradition of families getting together and visiting each other homes, which usually means food, food, and more food. A lot of in-home cooking is done during the holiday season, which means a lot of people are prone to kitchen accidents involving cuts and lacerations, food allergies, and more.
Here are some key points to rule out common holiday kitchen accidents:
- Knife safety is crucial when in the kitchen. Make sure you never cut towards yourself and the knife is sharpened correctly.
- Basic food safety – handling raw meat, washing hands, and precautions around leftovers – should be followed. A holiday does not excuse the general rules.
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Happy holidays and stay safe!
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, West Plano Emergency Room and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.