‘Tis the Season for Holiday Safety Tips

As the holidays draw near, families look forward to traditions like baking cookies, decorating the house, and special meals with friends and loved ones. Children from one to one hundred delight in the anticipation of holiday lights and that perfect slice of homemade pie. The hustle and bustle of the holidays leaves little time to consider the safety concerns that arise at this time of year; however, it is important to recognize and follow holiday safety concerns during the season.

stay safe this holiday season

Over the holidays, the higher occurrence of family gatherings, parties, and travel can translate to more accidents and injuries in the weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. In the 2012 holiday season, the National Safety Council reports that there were nearly 15,000 injuries due to holiday decorating alone! As you enjoy the gifts of the season, take a moment to review these tips for safer and merrier festivities.

Deck the Halls with Holiday Safety

ladder safety decorating christmas tree

Before you climb up onto that chair or ladder to string lights on your Christmas tree, remember that getting hurt during the decorating process is more common than you think. NBC reports a rise in the number of emergency room visits related to holiday festivities — more than 250 per day from November 1 to December 31! Common injuries from decorating include lacerations, back strain, bruising, and even devastating injuries like broken hips and necks.

In order to prevent injuries while decorating, follow these basic holiday safety guidelines:

  • Always use a proper ladder to hang decorations, never a chair or other unconventional booster. Review “Ladder Safety 101” for more tips.
  • Do not hang decorations while under the influence of alcohol or other substances — this impairs judgment and balance.
  • Artificial snow can be dangerous if inhaled. Exercise caution and spray outdoors, away from your face and eyes.
  • “Angel Hair” is made of glass and can cause eye or skin irritation. Avoid handling or use gloves to protect your skin.
  • Keep glass and breakable ornaments out of the reach of young children, placing them higher up on the tree.
  • Holiday plants, such as holly, mistletoe, and some poinsettias are toxic to children and pets. Keep them out of reach.
  • Christmas Fire Hazards

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, 30% of home fires occur in the months of December, January, and February. An increase in fire hazards during these months makes the season a busy time for your local fire department.

    candles cause fire hazards

    Electrical fires are a risk from overloaded electrical outlets or leaving Christmas lights on for extended periods of time. Candles are beautiful but are a common source of home fires. Be sure to extinguish unattended candles, or even better, use authentic-looking electric candles. Always turn Christmas lights off when not in use and only purchase lights from reputable dealers. LED lights are an especially safe option as they do not build heat when in use.

    Cooking fires are also common during the holidays. One especially hazardous, albeit tasty, method of preparing a holiday meal is turkey frying. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports 672 injuries and 8 million dollars in property damage due to the practice since 2002. If you are determined to have a fried bird this year, it might be best to avoid the hazardous turkey fryer by having your turkey prepared by a professional or using a new oil-less turkey fryer.

    christmas tree hazards holiday safety

    Christmas trees bring joy but also fire danger. The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2009-2013, there was an average of 210 fires each year involving Christmas trees. Christmas tree fires are more likely than other types of fires to burn very quickly and can cause fatalities. Keep these holiday safety tips in mind to prevent a tree fire:

  • Natural trees should be placed in water and kept well-hydrated at all times.
  • Keep trees away from heat sources like fireplaces, heating vents, or space heaters.
  • Inspect tree lights for frayed wiring or other damage prior to use.
  • Always turn lights off when tree is unattended.
  • Discard your tree promptly when needles begin to fall off when touched.
  • Travel This Holiday Season With Care

    driving in bad holiday weather

    Visiting family can be a much-anticipated event of the holiday season. If you are traveling by car, remember that there are more people driving under the influence during this festive time period.

    Injury Facts 2015 reports high numbers of accidents related to impaired driving around the winter holidays. The usual road safety rules are even more important during the holidays:

    • Choose a designated driver and insist that friends and family do the same.
    • Always buckle-up and be sure that everyone in your vehicle does the same.
    • Have a back-up plan in case of heavy snow or ice on the roads.
    • Stay alert while driving by keeping music low and your cell phone out of reach.
    traffic during christmas

    The holidays can be particularly stressful with families trying to do more in a shorter period of time or worrying about financial burdens. Local traffic can be heavy with more people out shopping for food and gifts, which compounds the situation. Try not to drive when you are fatigued, and leave plenty of time when setting out on an errand to ensure that you are not rushed.

    Personal Injury Attorneys Working for You

    Holiday safety is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Are you dealing with a holiday related or other type of personal injury? At Donaghue & Labrum, we know that stress increases greatly when families are dealing with accidents or injuries over the already busy holiday season. If you need counsel for a recent accident or injury, please contact us. Our experienced team of attorneys will do everything possible to make sure your case is resolved and you get the compensation that you deserve. That’s why we are available for a free consultation at our Media and West Chester offices at your convenience. Call today for more information.