Every holiday season, emergency rooms across the country are filled with people suffering from falls, lacerations, and back strains. During the 2014 season, there were 12 deaths and an estimated 14,500 injuries attributed to decorating.
The holidays should be spent with family and friends – and not in the ER. Here are some tips, courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to keep you safe while decorating this year:
Sharp, weighted, and breakable decorations can cause lacerations – one of the top reported decoration-related injuries in 2014. Paper decorations should be kept away from heart sources, or non-combustible paper can be used instead.
Purchase holiday light sets that bear the marking of a safety testing laboratory. Make sure light strands have no broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Securely fasten lights to trees, houses, or walls and never overburden extension cords or power strips. Fires caused by lights resulted in 10 deaths in 2014.
Candles should be kept where you can see them and away from places where kids and pets could reach them. Lit candles should never be near items that could catch on fire. Candles caused 80 deaths and 650 injuries between 2010 and 2012.
If you are opting for an artificial tree, make sure the label indicates it is fire resistant.
If you are opting for a real tree, make sure the tree is fresh. To tell if it is fresh, the tree is green, the needles do not break when bent, and a shower of needles do not fall when the tree is bounced on the ground. Keep real trees well-watered and away from heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators.
Thirty-six percent of holiday decorating injuries involve falls – half of these incidents occur on ladders. Hundreds of people fall from ladders each year when hanging decorations for the holidays.
Have someone hold the bottom of the ladder for you, make sure the ladder is on level and firm ground, and do not stand on the ladder’s top step or bucket shelf.