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How to avoid injury this holiday season

No one likes to think that injuries can occur during the holiday season, which is supposed to be a family-oriented time of peace on earth and goodwill towards others, but the fact remains that this is one of the most dangerous times of the year in terms of accidents. You don’t even have to go to the packed malls or drive home from a party to put yourself at risk: all kinds of injuries can occur in the home.

Decorations

According to the National Safety Council, decorating for the holidays results in 15,000 serious injuries every year. This averages out to around 250 people per day being hurt between November and January of each year. Injuries include but are not limited to:

  • Slips or trips and falls
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury

To reduce the risk of being seriously hurt while preparing your home for the holidays, keep the floor clear of boxes and other clutter, make sure that a ladder is secured before stepping onto it, and avoid stepping onto chairs and other furniture that cannot sustain your weight.

Christmas trees

The National Fire Protection Association estimated that between 2011 and 2015, fire departments across the country responded to 200 home fires caused by Christmas trees each year. These conflagrations caused a yearly average of nearly $15 million in property damage, 16 injuries, and six deaths. In 26% of these cases, a heat source such as a candle, was too close to the tree. Eliminate fire hazards in your home by:

  • Keeping lighted candles away from trees and boughs
  • Do not set up your tree near a heat source such as a radiator or fireplace
  • Use artificial trees that have been labeled fire resistant
  • Keep natural trees well-watered
  • Check lighted decoration for frayed wires
  • Turn off all decoration lights when not in use

Candles

Many December fires are caused by careless or negligent use of candles. In addition to Christmas, Hanukkah (the Jewish Festival of Lights) and the African-American Kwanzaa celebration feature ceremonial candle lighting. Keep your loved ones safe by placing candles on stable surfaces prior to lighting, keeping them out of the reach of children, and burning them at a safe distance from flammable items such as trees and curtains.

Fireplaces

We may not roast chestnuts in front of an open fire any more, but for those of us with a fireplace in our homes, Christmas is the time of year that we prefer to use it.  Make sure it is clean before use: the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that fireplaces be cleaned at least once a year by a certified chimney sweep. This prevents creosote from building up in the flue and causing a chimney fire.

Fortunately, many of these holiday tragedies can be prevented with some common sense and reasonable precautions, allowing you and your loved ones to add the 2017 celebrations to your list of good times to remember. If you were injured this holiday season, then be sure to seek medical treatment and contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, New York accident and personal injury lawyer with over 34 years of legal experience. He offers free in person consultations and can be reached at 718-329-9500 or through www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.

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