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Protect Yourself Against Holiday-Related Injuries

The holiday season is a time for family get-togethers and celebrations, but the last place your group wants to gather together is the emergency room.  Sadly, the winter months are often the busiest season for local emergency rooms. In fact, injuries and accidents during the holiday season cause thousands of emergency room visits each year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that holiday-related injuries are on the rise, with an increase of 30 percent in the past three years. 

Common Holiday Dangers

Fires

Fires during the holiday season are often caused by malfunctioning decorations, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and space heaters, unattended candles, kitchen accidents and more.  You can vastly cut down deadly fire risks by exercising good safety habits and practicing simple prevention. 

To ensure your family’s safety, make sure live trees and decorations are set up away from heat sources.  Utilize lights that are designated indoor or outdoor and have been safety-tested by a recognized laboratory such as UL.  Make sure the fireplace is in good repair.  Embers should always be discarded properly.  Don’t leave sources of open flames, such as fireplaces and candles unattended or forgotten about.  Keep combustibles away from the cooktop and never leave the kitchen while something is cooking on the stove.  

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that more than 400 people die each year in holiday fires and over 1,600 people are injured.


Falls

Most falls occur from ladders or roofs when putting up holiday decorations.  They also commonly occur indoors as the result of hanging decorations while balancing on step stools and furniture.   Falls also occur when people trip over electrical cords, holiday decorations and items moved out of their normal place to accommodate the home décor of the season. 

To reduce injuries this holiday, use extreme caution and avoid icy, snowy areas when decorating your roof and outdoor awnings.  Do not stand on everyday furniture, but use a proper step stool with a support person.  Keep cords taped down or wrapped neatly and when possible, keep common areas clear of holiday decorations to avoid tripping hazards. 

The CPSC reports that fall injuries resulting directly from the setup of holiday décor, send more than 12,000 people to the emergency room each year. 

Car Accidents

During the holidays, there are a staggering number of car accidents than any other time of the year.  Wet, icy, snowy weather conditions can make holiday driving a challenge. The number of drivers under the influence also skyrockets as alcohol consumption at holiday celebrations increases.  On top of these obstacles, people are much more likely to travel, increasing the volume of vehicles on the road and raising the risk of accident. 

To keep you and your loved ones safe on the roadways, make sure you keep your vehicle maintained.  Check your brakes and tires and be prepared for inclement weather.  When attending holiday celebrations, make sure you designate a driver and have a backup plan.  And once you are out on the road, be hyper-aware of vehicles around yours.  Keep the radio volume low and the distracting chatter to a minimum, so you can keep your eyes and ears on the road. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 32% of the total traffic fatalities for the year occur over the holiday season. 

Stay Safe This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time to celebrate, but by taking a few simple steps and using a bit of caution, you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from danger this season.  Whether entertaining, cooking, decorating or traveling, be aware of common hazards. Many accidents can be avoided.  Let the holidays be memorable for all the right reasons.   

Hupy and Abraham, S.C. sends warmest thoughts and best wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy holiday season.  

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham