2009 Holiday Safety: Top Holiday Hazards

Dec. 22, 2009
It is common knowledge that more accidents occur during the holiday season than any other time of the year. The best way to prevent an injury is to learn the most common reasons that bring a person into the ER.

Car Accidents – Car accidents this time of year are extremely dangerous due to weather conditions and a higher percentage of intoxicated drivers on the road. Avoid driving in hazardous weather conditions when possible and winterize your vehicle before traveling. Above all else, never drink and drive.

Holiday Decorating – When it comes to holiday decorating, a variety of accidents can happen. Over 5,000 accidents each year involve falling off of a ladder hanging Christmas lights and decorations. The month of December is responsible for 25 percent of all home decorating fires. Fires caused by Christmas trees and decorative lights claim an average of 500 homes annually.

Winter Sports – Skiing and snowboarding accidents cause hundreds of physical injuries, as well as frostbite, hypothermia and severe sun burns. Approximately 35,000 sledding injuries occur each year. In 2004, 11,000 children sought medical attention from ice skating injuries.

Kitchen Fires – Fire departments across the country plead with the public to be careful in the kitchen during the holidays to avoid kitchen fires. Three out of 10 home fires began in the kitchen. To reduce the risk of a kitchen fire, do not leave cooking food unattended and keep flammable materials away from heat sources.

Cuts – From cooking to wrapping presents, if it’s sharp, it can cut the skin. Hundreds of people cut themselves every year working hard to create the perfect holiday mood. Be careful with sharp objects and keep out of the reach of children. Make sure that first aid kits are available when needed.

Poisonous Christmas Plants – The many holiday plants are poisonous and can cause severe reactions if ingested. Keep poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis out of the reach of small children and pets to ensure that there will be no need to call poison control.

Electrical Shock – Electrical decoration mishaps bring an average of 5,000 people to the emergency room each year. Only use extension cords that are in good condition (not frayed) and never run them underneath any kind of fabric, including rugs. Be careful not to overload electrical sockets and unplug devices when they are no longer in use.

Shoveling Snow and Snow Blowers – Removing snow and ice from walkways and driveways provides protection from potential lawsuits, but each year, 100,000 injuries are result of this chore. When shoveling snow, lift with knees bent and a straight back to prevent back injury. If you have a heart condition, get permission from a physician and stop immediately if chest pains occur. When using a snow blower, the fourth leading cause of finger amputation, so always wear protective eyewear and keep hands away from the auger. Make sure that all safety devices are in working condition and read safety instructions before operating.

To learn more about SafetySkills, visit http://www.safetyskills.com.

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