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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

5 Tips for Decorating Safely for the Holidays

Simple Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

About 14,000 people are treated in the ER each year due to injuries caused by holiday decorations, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports. A lot of these injuries are due to fires and falls. In fact, the CPSC also reports that between 2010 and 2012, there were 6,500 residential fires resulting in 80 deaths.

Holiday Injuries

Holiday injuries can be quite diverse. The Website Quartz offers a great visual chart, showing the breakdown and distribution of injuries by type during the holiday season. Among the categories are stocking-related injuries, wrapping and unwrapping injuries, Christmas tree-related, decoration-related, and other injuries. Without a doubt, personal injuries associated with putting up decorations top the list as the most common by a landslide.

With so many injuries related to the holidays, consider a few simple suggestions and tips for decorating safely this holiday season.

Keep Flames Away From Trees and Presents

Consider what you get when you put presents wrapped in paper beneath a Christmas tree – kindling. Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSi) breaks down the fire statistics, showing that Christmas trees cause the majority of house fires around the holidays. EFSi explains that fires started due to Christmas trees and decorations actually cause “twice the injuries and 5 times more fatalities per fire” than typical winter-time residential house fires. In fact, Christmas tree fires alone cause about 260 house fires every year. So, keep candles and space heaters away from the tree.

Buy Large Child-Safe Ornaments

According to Quartz, children suffer the most injuries. This is because many ornaments are very small. Young children often mistake small ornaments for food or candy, which leads to choking. Some injuries are stranger, including sticking objects up their noses or stepping on broken glass ornaments. If you have small children, it is best to stick to plastic ornaments and make sure they are large enough that children cannot attempt to ingest them.

Get Help Putting Up Lights

By far the largest category of injuries, putting up decorations can be very dangerous. Many people wait too long to put up exterior lights, thus putting themselves in the unfortunate position of having to do it in icy conditions. Here are some general suggestions for safely installing Christmas lights:

  • Get help. It is much safer to have a helping hand from a friend.
  • Do it before snow and ice become a problem, if possible.
  • Never drink when decorating.
  • Use a proper extension ladder and rubberized grip support at the bottom.
  • Hire a professional with any decorations you are not comfortable installing.
  • Never exceed manufacturer recommendations for extension cords or power strips

Food Safety

Another injury people may not think about is food poisoning. Leaving out meats, cheeses, and other food items can create a breeding ground for bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria. Many large functions involve prepared meats and platters that may sit open for snacking for hours, but some foods should not be left unrefrigerated. Keep this in mind when attending holiday parties.

Enjoy Alcohol Responsibility

Probably the simplest suggestion is to use caution when consuming alcohol. Drinking is not just dangerous when people drive. It is also not wise to decorate a roof or do any other complicated and already dangerous task when you have been drinking. Alcohol slows your reaction time and impairs your judgment. Stay sober until the decorations are up, then indulge afterward.

Call our Long Island Personal Injury Attorneys

With decades of experience representing New Yorkers in personal injury cases, the Long Island accident attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP wish you a happy and safe holiday season. While some injuries are purely accidental, other times people are injured because someone else was negligent and disregarded their safety. If you or a loved one are injured due to someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, call or visit us online to discuss your case.

(c) Can Stock Photo / amyinlondon

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