As we gather with family and friends this holiday season we should be mindful of the fact that this time of the year is the worst season for accidents. We all want to spend time with those we care for but want to be as safe as possible so it would be helpful to review some of the most common causes of holiday accidents and review how we can avoid these injuries.
Ironically, holiday parties are one of the biggest causes of motor vehicle accidents at this time of the year. Far too often free flowing alcohol and excessive consumption can combine to result in a recipe for disaster. As a party host we have a legal responsibility to make sure that those who overindulge do not drive off from our parties while intoxicated. If you are hosting a holiday party you must be vigilant in monitoring your party guests and insure their safety and those who are on the road by making sure that they do not leave your party intoxicated and get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Holiday decorations are also a cause of a number of deaths and injuries. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that holiday decorating accidents result in over 1,200 people going to the hospital each year. Many people try and outdo their neighbors in home decorating. Climbing up on ladders and going up on the roof are two common tasks that sometimes result in falls that cause serious injury or death. Another decorating activity that causes injury is the plugging in of endless strings of lights in extension cords that are over loaded or are not water proof which are placed outside or in using indoor lights outside both of which can either shock someone or start a fire.
Another thing that we often do during the holiday season is to burn candles as a way of adding ambiance to our homes. Scented candles can add a nice aroma and produce pleasant lighting that make our homes seem more warm and inviting. Unfortunately, candle related house fires are a common mishap during this time of the year and claim 166 lives, cause more than 12,000 injuries and cost almost a half a billion dollars in property damage. Therefore it is important that you not leave burning candles unattended, keep them away from flammable items, make sure they are on stable, heat resistant surfaces, make sure they are blown out before retiring for the night and have a functioning fire extinguisher in your home.
Many holiday plants including holly berries, mistletoe and Christmas cactus are poisonous if swallowed so be sure to keep them away from pets and small children. Additionally, poinsettias can also make humans and pets seriously ill so be sure to keep them in a less accessible place.
Lastly, when families gather we often gravitate, at some point, to outdoor winter activities such as sledding, skiing, skating and hiking. Slip and falls, collisions and other traumatic accidents occur which result in head injuries and broken bones. Make sure that you wear safety protection, watch for others and be careful while on slippery or other dangerous surfaces.
Be careful and have a safe and joyous holiday season!