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CPSC: Holiday Decorations Injure Thousands Annually

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that over the holidays in 2014, from November through December, an astonishing 14,500 people were injured and 12 people died as a result of some mishap with holiday decorations. That breaks down to an average of 240 injuries in the U.S. every single day – on things that are intended to bring great joy. Christmaslights

Some of the most common holiday-related injuries included:

  • Falls
  • Lacerations
  • Back strains
  • Ingestion of foreign objects
  • Burns

West Palm product liability attorneys know that these are preventable injuries and deaths. Sometimes, they occur due to the carelessness of the victim. But often, certain products may be defective or dangerous as designed. In other cases, property owners fail to take all appropriate and reasonable measures to ensure guests, patrons and tenants are safe from foreseeable harms.

When an injury or death occurs as a result of negligence, there may be cause for legal action. Even when the victim may share some of the blame, it’s worth pointing out that comparative fault doesn’t bar injury claims in Florida, so a personal injury lawsuit still may be worth pursuing.

In light of the potential dangers, the CPSC created a “countdown” of 12 Ways to Celebrate Safely. Among the directives the agency highlighted:

  • Use caution with decorations that are breakable, sharp or weighted. In 2014, the most common decoration-related injuries were attributed to lacerations and cuts.
  • If you have small children in your home, avoid decorations or trimmings that may resemble candy, as they may be tempted to put them in their mouths.
  • Buy only holiday light sets that indicate they’ve been safety-tested in a laboratory. Fires caused by holiday lights resulted in 10 deaths in 2014.
  • Check sets of lights for damage and throw out any lights that have loose connections or are cracked or have exposed or frayed wires.
  • Burning candles should be kept always in sight and in places where neither pets nor children can knock them over. Candle fires caused some 6,500 home fires between 2010 and 2014, resulting in 650 serious injuries and 80 deaths. They may be festive and make a room smell nice, but if you aren’t keeping a watchful eye on them, they’re often not worth the risk.
  • If you are using candles, make sure to keep them away from flammable items, such as a Christmas tree, curtains, furniture or other decorations.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for labels indicating the product is “fire resistant.” If you are using a live tree, make sure it is fresh and water it frequently to prevent dryness that can make it more susceptible to fire.
  • Using a ladder to hang Christmas lights is one of the most dangerous things you can do this holiday season. More than one-third of all holiday-related injuries were falls, and falls from ladders accounted for half of these. In some cases, ladders are defective. In other cases, there may be inadequate directions or warnings on the product.
  • When cooking with a turkey fryer, follow product instructions and never place a frozen turkey into hot oil. Keep a watchful eye on all stove tops and ovens.

If you have been injured as a result of faulty holiday decorations or related fire or fall, contact our offices to learn about whether you may have grounds to seek compensation.

Contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.

Additional Resources:

Tis the Season to Decorate Safely, Dec. 7, 2015, Consumer Product Safety Commission Blog

More Blog Entries:

National Casualty Co. v. U.S. Adult Soccer Association et al. – Insurer Asserts No Liability for Player Paralysis, Nov. 30, 2015, Palm Beach Injury Attorney Blog