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Christmas Injuries and Precautions

The holiday season is a hectic time of the year, with people traveling, shopping, and trying to find the perfect gifts. While this year’s holiday season may look a little different because of COVID-19, many have continued to participate in their at-home traditions, like putting up Christmas trees, decking the house in lights, or decorating the tree or home. However, all the chaos during this time of year can be distracting and can result in injuries.

Christmas Related Injuries

Between 2011 and 2015, there were 1,700 hospital emergency visits per every 100 hospitals. [1] Many of these injuries involved younger children swallowing Christmas ornaments, or people being injured by heavy objects, like a Christmas tree or metal stocking holder falling on them. The Consumer and Product Safety Commission also reported that new parents were more likely to get injured than more seasoned parents who had more experience with the holiday season and associated risks.

Another common injury group is falls related to Christmas trees and home lighting. These activities are dangerous considering they often require the use of hazardous objects like electrical cords, ladders, lightbulbs etc. Here are some common holiday hazards and injuries:

  • Tree Lighting overheating resulting in the tree catching fire and resulting property damage.
  • Outdoor fires caused by outdoor lighting
  • Electrical shocks from broken or cut electrical cords.
  • Injuries while hanging lights, ornaments, decorations, etc. [2]

While these injuries pertain more to the Holiday season, there are also some injuries to be wary of on Christmas Day. Some examples of common Christmas Day injuries include knife/scissor cuts from opening presents. Other examples include slipping or falling due to left out toys, back injuries from lifting heavy presents, lighting and burns from fireplaces. Another common issue is slipping or falling due to alcohol consumption. [3]

You should seek medical attention for the following:

  • Fractures
  • Strains
  • Excruciating Pain and swelling
  • Severe Burns
  • Choking/ Ingested Object
  • Severe Bleeding [4]

If you experience any of these issues you should go to the nearest ER or seek some form of medical help.

Important Safety Precautions

Taking simple precautions can reduce the risk of injuries and can make the holiday season safer for everyone. To begin, ensure you check all lights before putting them up especially considering that these decorations usually stay in storage for an entire year. You should check for frayed edges, damaged fittings, broken lights, etc. Try switching off the lighting when you are not in the home, and ensure the lights are minimally exposed to water. Additionally, do not overload sockets because this can cause electrical fires. In addition to electrical safety, it is important to consider fire safety when lighting a fireplace. Have your chimney swept and avoid throwing wrapping paper or other inappropriate materials into the fire. Decrease clutters as this can be a fire hazard and can block walkways. [5]  Lastly, in the event a fire occurs, be sure to have a working fire extinguisher nearby in case it is needed.

When it comes to at-home injuries like falls, it is important that you use a proper ladder when putting up lights or ornaments. Avoid using chairs, tables, boxes, etc. as step stools as these objects can be flimsy and can result in further injuries. When using a ladder, it is important that you follow the precautions posted on the ladder. Lastly, ensure there is no one below you when on the ladder to avoid risk of hurting them if you fall or drop something. [6]

Finally, when it comes to young children, try avoiding small ornaments in the house. You should avoid anything that has a “choking hazard” label on it, as well as any objects that might attract a child’s attention or fit in their mouth. Additionally, avoid decorating with mistletoe or holly, as they can be poisonous and ingestion of them can seriously harm small children or pets. Even if you do not have small children but have some visiting, it is important to safe proof the house. Also ensure that presents are safe and do not serve as potential choking hazards. Lastly, be sure that children are supervised as much as possible and keep them away from any potential hazards whenever possible. [7]

In conclusion, the holidays and Christmas are hectic and stressful for many Nevadans. However, it is important that we continue taking simple precautions and ensure that the season does not distract us from keep our loved ones safe and protected.

[1] https://qz.com/859303/americas-most-common-christmas-related-injuries-in-charts/

[2] https://onlinefirstaid.com/christmas-accidents

[3] https://www.sciencenews.org/article/christmas-holiday-decorations-injuries-emergency-room

[4] Ibid

[5] https://www.ehs.washington.edu/about/latest-news/ladder-safety-work-and-home

[6] Ibid

[7] https://tss-safety.com/protect-your-children-from-christmas-time-choking-hazards/

Benson and Bingham