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3 Common Holiday Decorating Injuries

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Safety on December 19, 2019

Decking the halls should not land you in the hospital…yet that is where thousands of people end up each year after suffering serious decorating-related injuries. Broken bones, severe burns, traumatic brain injuries and other significant injuries could all happen while decorating your home for the holidays. Decorate with personal safety in mind this year to avoid a visit to the emergency room.

Light Decorating Injuries

Putting up the lights is a dangerous job that is best left to the professionals. Save yourself the hassle of getting up on the roof and possibly suffering a serious injury by hiring a professional to string up your lights using special safety equipment, such as a personal fall protection device. Falls from roofs and ladders while trying to decorate with lights lead to many personal injuries and hospital visits each holiday season.

If you decide to hang your own lights, use the right ladder. Do not use a ladder that is only tall enough if you have to stand on the top three steps or rungs. Position an extension ladder one foot away from the roof or resting surface for every four feet of height. Your extension ladder should extend at least three feet past the resting surface. Securely fasten your straight ladder to an upper support. Have someone support the bottom of the ladder as well. Never lean or reach while on a ladder. Always keep two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder.

Slip, Trip and Falls

Falls from roofs and ladders are not the only type of fall that could cause an injury. The National Flooring Safety Institute reports one million patients per year end up in emergency rooms due to slip and fall accidents. Slip, trip and fall accidents while decorating for the holidays can happen if you have an icy stoop or driveway, if you spilled something or have melted ice on your floors, or if you run extension cords over hallways and walkways. A slip or trip accident could cause injuries such as wrist sprains, hip fractures and head injuries.

Keep all holiday lights and extension cords out of traffic areas. If your stairs do not have handrails, install them before inviting over any holiday party guests. Arrange your furniture to create safe pathways. Never block any exits with holiday decorations, Christmas trees or piles of presents. Keep floor surfaces free from clutter and décor. Install plenty of lights on outdoor pathways and keep lights on inside to help guests maneuver safely around your home.

Candle Burns

Decorating with real candles might create a cozy holiday atmosphere, but it is not worth the supreme risk of house fires and burn injuries. From 2013 to 2017, 22 home fires that came from candles occurred each day on average per year. Most of these fires (60%) occurred when the decorator placed the candle too close to a flammable item, such as curtains, furniture, mattresses or holiday decorations. Candle fires peak each year in December, with 18% starting in the living room. A candle fire could burn your entire house down – or cause significant property damage before firefighters put out the flames.

Even if your candles do not start a house fire, you could suffer painful burn injuries trying to decorate with them. Reaching over a lighted candle or burning yourself trying to light décor that uses candles could cause second- or even third-degree burn injuries. You may have a second-degree burn if it forms a blister on your skin. Seek professional medical care for second- or third-degree burns to help prevent serious infections. You should also go to the hospital for a first-degree burn if it is wider than four inches or on a sensitive part of your body, such as your face. Stay away from other fire-hazard holiday décor such as live Christmas trees, faulty electrical wires and fireworks to prevent burn injuries as well. 

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