Holiday Decorating a Common Cause of Injury, ER Visits

December may be one of the most joyous times of the year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were close to 20,000 emergency room visits for injuries resulting from holiday decorating in the U.S. during November and December of 2012.  This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve seen a spike in the number of these incidents.

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Holiday mishaps, like falling from a ladder or stepping on a Christmas tree ornament, might be funny in the films, but they’re serious threats in real life.  Not only do we have these hazards to worry about, but we’re also facing risks for fires, from Christmas trees, candles and outdoor lighting, during this time of the year.

Our Broward personal injury attorneys understand that there are close to 300 injuries that happen each day during the holiday season.  Each home should have a safe holiday checklist to keep from any unexpected disasters, including safe ladder use, candle supervision and smart Christmas tree decorating.

In 2012, the most common of the reported holiday accidents that were seen in E.R. rooms across the country involved falls, back strains and lacerations.  When talking about fires, there were about 200 fires reported from 2009 to 2011 as a result of a Christmas tree-ignited item.  In these accidents, 10 people were killed, 20 people were injured and they cost more than #15 million in property loss.  With candle-related accidents, fires that happened from 2009 to 2011 resulted in 70 fatalities, close to 700 injuries and nearly $310 million in property loss.

Outdoor Decorating Safety Tips:

-Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards.  Use only lights that have fused plugs.

-Make sure that all extension cords and electrical decorations used to outdoor decoration are marked for outdoor use.

-Stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles into older homes.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

-If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.

-Make sure your tree is watered. The tree stand should contain a continuous source of water and be sturdy enough to resist toppling by kids or pets.

-Don’t connect more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.

-Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Place any candles well away from tree branches.

-Place your tree in a non-tip style with wide feet, using extra wires if needed to keep it steady. Keep doorways and exits clear. Place your tree and decorations away from heaters, fireplaces, candles and other sources of heat.

Holiday Candle Safety Tips:

-Keep candles away from drafts, children and pets.

-Never leave a lighted candle unsupervised.

-Wicks should be trimmed to 1/4 inch and taper candles should not be allowed to burn closer than 2 inches to the candle holder.

-Candles should be in/on a sturdy nonflammable container/base that is large enough to collect dripping wax.

If you or someone in your family has been injured, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.