Holiday Decoration Safety Tips
Decking the halls, painting holiday scenery, and stringing up lights certainly adds to seasonal cheer; however, thousands of decorators across the country cut short their joy by not taking proper safety precautions while hanging the boughs. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 14,500 injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms related to holiday decorating and 12 decorating fatalities occurred nationwide during the 2014 holiday season.
Among hospital-inducing holiday injuries in 2014, falls, lacerations, back strains, and electrocutions were the most common causes. Below is a summary of these common injuries and precautionary suggestions to ensure that you and your family spend your holidays safe and sound.
Falling — Accounted for 34% of Holiday Injuries
The majority of falls are a result of improper ladder usage or unsafe navigation on icy surfaces (sidewalk or roof). Regardless of the intensity of the climb, take all the following precautions to avoid a preventable fall—whether it is from 3 feet or 30 feet.
- Check the ladder for broken or rusted hinges, rungs, or screws.
- Place the ladder on level, firm ground and ensure the feet are slip-resistant.
- Only allow one person on the ladder at a time.
- Avoid using inanimate objects (such as furniture or shelving) to reach greater heights—always use a safe ladder.
- Wear non-slip, sturdy footwear to climb ladders or travel on slick surfaces.
- Enlist a healthy friend or family member to spot you while using a ladder.
- Decorate with a partner (or more friends and family members).
- Unclutter high-traffic areas for a clear, injury-free path.
- Secure rugs with a non-slip backing or double-sided tape.
- Avoid walking on carpeted stairs while wearing fuzzy or slippery socks.
- Utilize salt outdoors to melt ice and reduce the risk of sudden slips.
Lacerations — Accounted for 11% of Holiday Injuries
From the danger of wrapping gifts (the CPSC reported roughly 6,000 treatments for packaging-related injuries!) to cooking or even stepping on fragile, fallen décor items, lacerations can cause emergency situations. Practice caution by implementing the following suggestions.
- Avoid reckless gift wrapping and opening—instead, take it slow and enjoy the process.
- Avoid using sharp objects to open sealed boxes or packages.
- Do not carve food toward yourself, and ensure the kitchen or cutting space is well lit.
- Use properly sharpened knives while cooking and eating. Dull knives may cause a greater struggle and sudden injuries.
- Ensure that decorative items haven’t fallen in high-traffic areas.
- Wear slippers or socks to protect your feet from injury due to objects being on the floor.
- Keep fragile objects out of reach of children and pets.
Back Strains — Accounted for 10% of Holiday Injuries
Lifting heavy decoration items without proper form is the typical cause of back straining injuries. When lifting objects from the ground or above the head, take the following precautions:
- Lift objects from the ground utilizing your legs (do not bend at the waist—instead, raise and lower objects by squatting).
- Ask for help when something is heavy.
- Avoid decorating alone to reduce the temptation for completing difficult tasks by yourself.
- Utilize or hire help (if necessary) to shift household furniture in preparation for holiday gatherings or decorating.
- Use a ladder properly when striving to reach high places.
Electrocution and Fire — Accounted for Over 7% of Injuries
When hanging lights and burning candles, ensure that your surroundings are conducive for a safe experience. The CPSC estimates that 4,000 injuries treated in hospitals each year are associated with electric extension cords.
- Examine strings of lights for exposed wires, loose connections, or other damage.
- Purchase lights that are tested by a safety laboratory.
- Avoid hanging or plugging in lights in damp areas (or outside where they will be exposed to precipitation).
- Look for labels on décor items indicating that they are fire resistant.
- Check live trees for freshness before decorating.
- Avoid leaving lights on for extended periods of time, and never leave decorative lighting on while unattended.
- Never allow children near electrical outlets, cords, or candles unattended.
How The Law Offices of George A. Malliaros Can Help
Even when taking the proper precautions, holiday injuries may still occur. But you don’t need to let unexpected injuries dampen your holiday spirit.
If you or someone you know has been injured, and you think a defective product may have been involved, please contact us today at (800) 856-4449 or complete this form to schedule a free consultation. The statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is three years from the date of the injury, so please contact us as soon as possible; our contingent fee policy ensures that you will not pay any fees or expenses unless and until we are able to resolve your claim successfully.
‘Tis the season to decorate safely. (2015, December 7). On Safety. Retrieved from http://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2015/12/07/tis-the-season-to-decorate-safely/
“Deck the halls” safely: CPSC estimates more than 15,000 holiday decorating injuries during November and December [Press Release]. (2013, December 5). United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved from https://www.cpsc.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2014/cpsc-estimates-more-than-15000-holiday-decorating-injuries-during-november-and-december
Common holiday injuries and safety tips. (2015, November 23). Rebound Orthopedics & Neurosurgery. Retrieved from http://www.reboundmd.com/latest-news/common-holiday-injuries-and-safety-tips/