By Marcus Fernandez
The holiday season should be a time to create memories of visits with family and friends and enjoying the brightly colored lights and decorations at stores and homes. No one wants their holiday festivities ruined by accidents and injuries, but a trip to a hospital emergency department to treat a holiday-related injury is an all-too-common occurrence.
The good news is that you can safely enjoy this most wonderful and festive time of the year. All it takes is awareness of the hazards and simple ways to minimize the risk of injuries. Here are ways to keep yourself and those you love safe this holiday season.
Common injury-causing situations during the holidays
The holiday memories from last year for almost 15,000 people included treatment in a hospital emergency department for injuries relating to putting up decorations. Decorating accidents and mishaps are not the only cause for concern, so here are some common holiday-related hazards:
- Traffic accidents
Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is a busy time throughout Florida as people prepare for a holiday celebration at home or travel from other states to visit friends and relatives. Crowded streets and people rushing to shop, decorate, and cook increase the hazards that lead to accidents and injuries.
Avoiding traffic accidents
Florida is one of the top five states ranked as most dangerous for drivers during the holiday season, but drivers can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries by adhering to the following safety tips:
- Always use seat belts: Seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected from the vehicle in a collision. Buckling up also complies with Florida law requiring the use of seat belts by drivers, front-seat passengers, and all occupants younger than 18 years old.
- Avoid impaired driving: Alcohol and drugs impair a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. If you take prescription medication, ask your physician or pharmacist how it may affect your driving ability.
- Allow enough time to reach your destination: Traffic congestion during the holidays may cause travel delays, leading to speeding and aggressive driving behavior. Leave early enough to get to your destination without engaging in illegal and dangerous driving behavior.
- Avoid driving distractions: Pay attention to the road by avoiding distractions, such as tuning the radio, programming GPS systems, and texting or talking on the phone as you drive.
Safe driving behavior goes a long way toward avoiding accidents that spoil the enjoyment of the holidays. It also helps to drive defensively and anticipate unsafe conduct by other motorists.
Avoiding falls and tripping hazards
It’s hard to deck the halls without climbing a ladder. However, falls from ladders account for 40% of decorating injuries during the holiday season. Ensure the ladder is on a firm and level surface before climbing it. Reposition the ladder to avoid reaching too far to either side.
If you do not feel comfortable with heights or are unsteady at ground level, leave the climbing to someone else. Another option is to keep the holiday decorations at a height you can safely reach while standing on the ground.
The electric cords from holiday lights and other decorations must be placed so they do not become tripping hazards. Wires, wrapping paper, and other objects and materials left on the floor or on the ground where people walk may cause someone to trip and fall. Ensure that floors and outside walkways are safe and free of tripping hazards.
Fire hazards during the holidays
Positioning a Christmas tree or other flammable holiday decorations too close to candles, fireplaces, and other sources of open flames or source of head may cause a fire. Keep flammable objects at a safe distance from flames and heat sources.
If you have a real Christmas tree, it should stand in water to keep its needles from drying out. Check the water level every day and replenish it as needed.
The safety tips in this blog can reduce the risk of an accident spoiling your holiday cheer. If another person’s negligence causes an injury to you or a loved one, the Tampa personal injury lawyers at KFB Law can help you obtain compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.