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Holiday Decoration Injuries: 15K ER Visits in 2012

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on December 09, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A new report on holiday decoration injuries finds that "decking the halls" leads to a seasonal spike in hospital emergency-room visits. And the number of injuries continues to rise.

More than 15,000 festive folks sustained holiday decoration-related injuries requiring ER treatment in 2012, according to new estimates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. It's the fourth consecutive year the numbers have increased.

To spread your holiday cheer without suffering an injury, keep these five tips in mind:

  1. Avoid lifting heavy items alone. Before you lift that 15-foot snowman sculpture all by your lonesome, note that back strains made up 10 percent of holiday decoration injuries last year. The holidays are all about the spirit of giving (and taking), so don't be shy: Ask for hauling help. If not, get ready to become one sad (and immobile) back strain statistic.
  2. Secure your ladder. Injuries from falls were the most common, accounting for 34 percent of holiday decorating-related emergency department visits. Over-zealous decorators may want to to take a step back and heed the warning labels on ladders. Check out the CPSC's "Ladder Safety 101" for tips to prevent ladder falls this holiday season.
  3. Beware fiery fir needles. "Real" Christmas trees and wreaths are fun; the scent alone is festive. But it's important to check these items for freshness, keep them away from heat sources, and prevent them from drying out. In the 200 Christmas tree fires occurring between 2009 and 2011, 10 people died and 20 were injured, according to the CPSC report.
  4. Watch out for faux-fir fires, too. If you're going down the plastic route and buying an artificial tree, look for a label that says "Fire Resistant." While that doesn't mean your tree can't catch fire, it will be more resistant to it.
  5. Practice caution with candles and lights. Candle-related fires from 2009 through 2011 resulted in an estimated 70 deaths, 680 injuries and $308 million in property loss. Keep burning candles within sight and on stable, heat-resistant surfaces. While you're at it, retire holiday lights with broken sockets or bare wires.

Don't forget to protect your little helpers, too. If not, you could be liable for their injuries.

If you get hurt from a holiday decoration debacle and it's not from your own ill-fated yuletide antics, you may want to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney or even a products liability attorney near you.

Happy decorating, and stay safe!

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