5 Common Injuries of House Decorating
Decorating your home can mark the start of the holidays for your family. If you are not careful, however, decorating could also cause serious injuries to you or your holiday guests. Each year, an average of 15,000 house decorating injuries occur during November and December, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Before you choose your decorations and start to deck the halls this year, learn how to recognize and avoid some of the most common injuries related to house decorating. California residents can speak to a personal injury attorney in Sacramento to learn about there options with household injury claims.
Holiday decorations can pose trip-and-fall threats to you and your house guests if you are not careful. Do not use Christmas lights, extension cords, garlands or other décor that will have to run across floor surfaces or staircases. Avoid using holiday decorations that sit on the ground and add to floor clutter. Do not block any walkways or exits with decorations, gifts or Christmas trees. Keep all pathways obstacle-free, including sidewalks and paths across your lawn. Keep your home and landscape well-lighted for ample visibility for guests.
Do not put up holiday decorations if it will require you to put yourself in danger. For example, you should not attempt to string lights across your roof if you have never been on your roof before. Unless you have the experience and proper safety equipment to decorate your home’s exterior, hire a professional instead. Falls are the number one cause of holiday decorating injuries, responsible for 34% of related emergency room visits. Always use ladders safely and with a buddy to help stabilize it from the bottom. Common fall injuries from house decorating mishaps can include broken bones, strains, sprains and head injuries.
Lacerations are the second-most common type of holiday decorating injury after falls. Avoid lacerations by looking inside boxes and bags with a flashlight for pieces of glass, shattered lightbulbs, jagged decorations or broken Christmas tree ornaments before reaching your hand or arm inside. Some fragile items may have broken during transit or storage. Wear proper shoes when decorating to avoid stepping on broken ornaments or glass as well. Always store fragile decorations separately, in a labeled box, and wrapped in bubble wrap or tissue paper to prevent laceration hazards.
Never use holiday lights that are old, damaged, faulty or frayed. These could put you at risk of suffering an electric shock. Inspect all cords and lights before using them each decorating season. Do not overload your home’s circuit breakers or put your fingers close to any sockets. Do not use lights labeled for interior use only outdoors. Mop up any spilled water, such as from your Christmas tree stand, before plugging in holiday lights. Unplug all electric décor and Christmas lights before going to sleep or leaving the house. Safe use of electrical lights and other plug-in holiday décor can help prevent electric shocks as well as burn injuries from electrical fires.
Thermal burn injuries are also a significant risk while holiday decorating. Many holiday decorations can cause deadly house fires, including Christmas trees, candles, menorahs, advent wreaths and electrical decorations. Between 2013 and 2017, firefighters responded to an average of 780 house fires per year that started with decorations alone (excluding Christmas trees). Keep decorations safely away from sources of heat. Even if your décor does not start a fire, you could suffer a burn injury from unsafe use of decorations. Do not reach over lighted candles, especially while wearing hanging clothing, and keep candles out of reach of children. Replace real candles and open flames with electric versions whenever possible.
Back strains are another common decorating-related injury. Use special lifting equipment, such as a back brace, and lift with your knees to help prevent back strain while lifting boxes of holiday decorations from storage. When in doubt, hire professional movers or get help from others to avoid a muscle sprain. Also avoid leaning or reaching too far to decorate your home, as well as exhausting your muscles with too much repetitive motion. Decorate your home without causing a personal injury by keeping safety in mind this season.