Avoid Holiday Decorating Injuries
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that, between 2009 and 2012, there were 12,000 emergency department visits per year related to holiday decorating injuries, while in 2012, there were an estimated 15,000 such injuries. Common causes of holiday decorating injuries include stepping on broken ornaments and falling from a ladder. Falls were involved in 34% of cases, while lacerations and back strains were also common.
Every year, thousands of people are treated for injuries related to holiday decorations. But it’s not only decorations that pose a risk. The United States Fire Administration found there were 150 home fires per year caused by decorations and holiday lights between 2004 and 2008; 260 fires started with Christmas trees each year.
So, how do you avoid being injured by holiday decorations, and becoming one more statistic?
The most common holiday related injuries include:
- Ingesting foreign objects
- Internal injuries
More serious injuries also occur, albeit in smaller numbers. You can avoid being injured by addressing the specific hazards that are unique to the holiday season.
- Avoid alcohol; it is often involved in decorating injuries, so save the drinking for later.
- If alone, wait until someone else is around in case anything happens.
- Don’t let kids climb a ladder or handle dangerous tools if they want to help.
If you use a ladder, check for broken or loose rungs before climbing it. Also, check its recommended weight limit and don’t use the ladder if your weight exceeds that number. The ladder should also be dry before use.
Also, make sure someone is holding the ladder for stability. When you’re placing it, make sure the floor is solid and even, and for every four feet of height, move the base one foot from the wall (the 4-to-1 rule). Stick to the same rules when taking decorations down as well.
Many people use candles for lighting. While candles are nice for decorating, don’t leave the room while they’re burning. And don’t leave a candle where it can be knocked over or near furniture, curtains, trees, and other things that can catch fire.
When installing holiday lights, use LED lights that are cooler to the touch. These are more efficient as well. Also:
- Check every light set for damage, including the bulbs, wires, and connections
- If there is a broken bulb or frayed wire, throw out the product
- Check every light package for labels indicating it has been safety checked by a nationally recognized testing laboratory (such as Underwriters Laboratories or the Canadian Standards Association)
Also, check outdoor lights to ensure they’re certified for such use and connected to a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
Don’t forget to check extension cords as well. You should look at each cord’s condition and that it’s rated for its intended use. Extension cords should also be properly placed and secured to mitigate trip and fall hazards.
Injured by a Defective Holiday Decoration? Call The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani Today
Our personal injury attorney in Los Angeles specializes in various types of injuries related to falls, premises liability, and defective products. Most holiday decorating injuries can be avoided by taking precautions. But as with any product, there could be factors that can make a manufacturer, retailer, or shipping company liable for damages. If you followed safety precautions and an injury occurred nonetheless, The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani can review your case and determine whether you’re eligible for compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.