The winter months are a time of joy and warmth as we celebrate various holidays and spend quality time with family and friends. Although everyone wants to enjoy these festivities free of any accidents, it's not unusual to see a host of injuries during this season.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that 39,500 people would suffer medical injuries during the Christmas season in 2020. No one wants to end up with an injury, so it's crucial to be aware of the common accidents that could occur. Keep reading to learn more about frequent holiday injuries from UCLA Health. Taking preventative measures to avoid these injuries can make your winter safe, happy, and memorable.
Holiday Injury Statistics
The holidays can come with many risks that can lead to injury. A few statistics include the following:
- 9% of all traffic deaths in December occur around Christmas.
- Each year, 1600 cooking-related holiday fires happen on Thanksgiving.
- Christmas tree fires cost around $10 million in property damage.
- Each year, 300 people are killed by drunk driving between Christmas and New Year's.
- 40% of Gen Zers reported sustaining injuries over the holidays.
7 Common Holiday Injuries to Be Aware Of
- Fall-Related Injuries
The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, bringing families and friends together to create memories that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, it also brings with it a heightened risk of falls and injuries. With slippery surfaces, ladders, and crowded homes, it's no wonder that falls are one of the most common causes of holiday-related accidents.
According to statistics, approximately 5,800 people are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms for injuries sustained from falls related to holiday decorations. Whether you're hanging lights outside or putting up a tree indoors, it's important to take precautions to stay safe and avoid a potentially serious injury.
To reduce the chances of fall-related accidents, consider the following:
- Be cautious when hanging decorations or lights by using a sturdy ladder and having a spotter.
- Clear walkways of snow, ice, and use non-slip mats.
- Keep clutter to a minimum in your home, especially in high-traffic areas.
- Toy-Related Injuries
The winter season is a time of excitement for children as they eagerly anticipate new toys and games. However, with the surge of new and unfamiliar items comes an unfortunate risk of injury.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 152,000 children under the age of 15 were treated in emergency departments for toy-related injuries in 2021, and two of these cases resulted in fatalities. Lacerations, contusions, and abrasions to the face and head were among the most common injuries reported.
To minimize the risk of toy-related injuries:
- Purchase age-appropriate toys and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for use.
- Keep small parts away from young children who might be tempted to put them in their mouths.
- Supervise playtime, especially with items that pose choking hazards or have sharp edges.
- Holiday Decoration Fires
Another danger of the holidays is an increased risk of fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2016 and 2020, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.
In addition, there were an average of 790 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. It's crucial to be careful and mindful when decorating your home, so you can avoid any potential hazards and enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.
To reduce the risk of holiday decoration fires:
- Keep decorations away from heat sources, such as candles, fireplaces, and heaters.
- Inspect holiday lights for frayed wires, broken bulbs, or any other damage.
- Turn off all holiday lights and blow out candles when leaving your home or going to bed.
- Back and Neck Strains
Lifting heavy objects or participating in winter sports can lead to back and neck strains during the holidays. It’s important to be aware of your limits and to take proper rest if you notice pain.
Keep the following tips in mind to prevent these injuries:
- Lift heavy objects by bending at your knees, not your waist.
- Take breaks and stretch when engaging in physical activities.
- Consider seeking professional help for proper sports equipment fitting and technique guidance.
- Automobile Accidents
As we approach the holiday season, it's important to remember that while it's a wonderful time of year, it can also be a dangerous one. Unfortunately, statistics prove that the number of automobile accidents increase during this time of year. In 2019, there were an average of 102 traffic fatalities every single day on U.S. roads, and with more people traveling during the holidays, the roads became even more dangerous.
To stay safe on the roads:
- Plan ahead to avoid rushed trips and high-traffic periods.
- Drive defensively and avoid any distractions, such as cell phones.
- Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, including having working headlights, windshield wipers, and tires.
Amidst all the festivities, it's important to prioritize safety. As we cook up delicious feasts, wrap presents with care, open packages with excitement, and assemble toys for children, it's easy to overlook the potential hazards that come with these activities. Accidental cuts pose another risk and it’s important to be careful.
Stay safe by following these tips:
- Use sharp knives when cutting, as dull ones increase the risk of injury.
- Keep scissors and knives out of reach of children.
- Be mindful of your surroundings when using sharp objects.
- Food and Alcohol-Related Issues
The winter season is a special time of year. However, it is essential to keep in mind that overeating, foodborne illnesses, and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to serious health issues. It is important to indulge in moderation and prioritize staying healthy during this festive time.
Keep these suggestions in mind:
- Practice portion control, especially at holiday feasts.
- Follow proper food safety guidelines when cooking and storing meals.
- Drink responsibly, and never drink and drive.
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it's not without its risks. From slipping on icy sidewalks to overindulging in holiday treats, there are plenty of ways to get hurt during this festive time. However, don't let the thought of a potential injury spoil your holiday cheer. By taking some simple precautions, you can enjoy all the exciting activities and events the season has to offer without putting yourself in harm's way.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and if you're injured due to someone else's negligence, it's important to seek legal help right away. At Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, our personal injury lawyer can be here to help you navigate the legal system and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Call us at (502) 242-8877 or reach out to us online.