Installing roof decorations, stringing up Christmas lights, dragging and lifting Christmas trees, and hanging tree ornaments commonly result in falls off ladders, fractures and broken bones, sprains and lacerations, eye injuries, and head trauma. Between 2011 and 2015, there were more than 13,000 Christmas-related injuries that resulted in visits to hospital emergency rooms across the country.
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The Christmas season is a joyful time of year that brings cheer and good tidings to millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, it also puts thousands of people in the hospital each year with injuries from decorating the house, wrapping presents, and preparing Christmas dinner.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hospital emergency rooms are filled during the holidays with people that have been injured while planning for Christmas. The main cause of Christmas-related injuries is from putting up and taking down decorations. CPSC tracks Christmas-related injuries each year, rating the most common as lacerations, followed by sprains and strains. Other common injuries include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Contusions and abrasions
- Electric shock
- Ingestion of foreign objects
Christmas-related accidents like sudden slips and falls off rooftops and tall ladders happen suddenly, often resulting in serious injuries or death. Although adults suffer most injuries, small children and even pets get injured frequently. Toddlers are often injured by eating decorations, putting small Christmas lights up their noses, and pulling overhead decorations down on their heads. Elderly adults commonly get hurt while hanging Christmas tree lights and ornaments and tripping over electrical cords.
Although decorating injuries top the list, they’re not solely responsible for Christmas-related injuries. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), holiday fires caused by dry Christmas trees and electrical wiring kill approximately 400 Americans and cause more than $990 million in property damage each year. Data shows that there are twice as many house fires during the holiday season than any other time of year.
To prevent injuries from fire and electric shock, the USFA recommends buying fresh, green Christmas trees and placing them at least three feet away from fireplaces and radiators. It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames. When using candles, they should be placed on sturdy surfaces and extinguished before leaving the house or going to bed. All extension cords for holiday lights should be UL-rated for indoor and outdoor use and limited to three end-to-end connections.