The holiday season should be full of sleigh bells, good cheer and lots of gift giving between friends and family members. Unfortunately, that wonderful holiday spirit is ruined for thousands of people each year after they suffer from serious seasonal injuries.
To help you better protect yourself and your loved ones, let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of holiday accidents, and the steps you can take to stay safe.
Holiday Safety By the Numbers
While bright holiday lights and other decorations are always one of the highlights of the winter season, they can cause serious injuries if care and caution aren’t exercised.
According to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, thousands of people are seriously injured each year as the direct result of holiday decorations. Falls, burns, muscle strains and other decoration-related injuries send roughly 15,000 people to the ER in the U.S. each holiday season.
Additionally, many of the components of holiday decorations can also cause injury. For example, “angel hair” — a common tree decoration made from spun glass — can irritate human skin and eyes, while the act of spraying artificial snow can seriously inflame human lungs if the material is inhaled.
Other common holiday injuries include:
- Cuts from ornaments made from glass or other sharp objects.
- Fires from frayed Christmas decoration wires or loose connections.
- Fires from candles. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 12-percent of fires occur in December, making it the leading month for such fires.
- Kitchen explosions. A deep-fried turkey might be delicious, but it’s also a hazard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that hundreds of people have been seriously injured by turkey fryer explosions.
- Food poisoning. The holiday season is a time to share big meals with friends and family, but you’ll need to stay cognizant of cross-contamination and other food safety considerations.
- Travel incidents. The roads are heavily traveled during the holidays, which raises the odds of being involved in a serious accident. According to the Department of Transportation, roughly 300 people are killed each year by a drunk driver during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Staying Safe This Holiday Season
Careful foresight and planning is the best way to ensure that you and everyone you love stays safe this holiday season. While you may not be able to guarantee yourself protection from someone else’s negligence, you can minimize the odds of an injury by adhering to some smart holiday safety principles.
In order to help you do so, we urge you to consider the following tips:
- When you purchase a live tree, ensure that it’s fresh. Fresher trees are less likely to catch fire. The best way to evaluate a tree for freshness is to inspect its color — the greener the better. You can also shake your tree; the fewer needles that fall off, the fresher it is.
- If you purchase an artificial tree, make sure you look for a “fire resistant” tag.
- Once your tree is standing and ready to decorate, only use lights that have been marked as tested and verified by a national regulatory organization. You should also inspect the sockets, wires and plugs for any obvious damage. Keep glass or sharp ornaments near the top of the tree.
- Roaring fires are nice, but always proceed carefully. If you’re using an indoor fireplace, never use fire salts, which create decorative colors when added to the flames (fire salts can make young children or pets very ill if ingested). Never throw wrapping paper in a fire.
- Because holiday season is fire season, it makes sense to inspect your home to ensure that all smoke detectors are in good working order.
- If you want to display holiday candles, opt for the flameless variety. Or, at the very least, always keep them on stable surfaces away from curtains and other flammable objects.
- Stay warm and remain off the roads if possible. Freezing weather, bad roads and heavy traffic are a deadly combination.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured This Holiday Season
Even if you follow all the rules and minimize your chances of getting hurt, you and your loved ones can still be injured by the carelessness of someone else. These injuries can not only ruin the holiday spirit, they can leave you with serious, lifelong, debilitating injuries.
Finding an experienced lawyer willing to fight for your interests can help ensure that you’re treated fairly under the law. If you live in Connecticut and you’ve been injured, we urge you to contact us today for a free consultation.