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On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2014 | Personal Injury


Personal Injuries Resulting From Hazardous Christmas Decorations

WEAR reports on a home hazard that I would not think to worry about. I hang them up on our mantle every year and do not worry about my toddler and children. But maybe I should be worried for my toddler and her friends who come over to play. They sit on the mantel and quietly hold up Christmas stockings. They’re heavy, able to hold all the goodies that might come down the chimney. But sometimes, they could come down as well, on top of an unsuspecting toddler. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that there’s over 6,000 injuries to children in the United States each year, from Christmas decorations. And a good number of those are injuries caused by something falling on the child like a Christmas tree or an ornament holder, or other decoration. Experts recommend to put some double stick tape, or maybe secure that holder to the mantel so it can’t be pulled off by a toddler or a young child. Most superficial injuries to the teeth can be fixed, but there are times when the injury becomes more serious. If there’s a lot of bleeding or if a child cuts a lip or their forehead cuts the inside of their mouth and they can’t control the bleeding, then it’s an emergency room visit.

A couple years ago, NBC News reported on a study that showed how many children are injured from holiday decorations. In 2008, between Oct. 31 and Jan. 31, there were 469 reports of holiday decorating-related injuries and . Extrapolated to the larger population, some 13,000 people are treated in ERs each year in the U.S. for injuries caused by festive decor. Amid the expected seasonal accidents, however, there also was evidence of a injuries by weighted stocking hangers. At least 20 young children were hurt by the heavy stocking hangers in 2007, the reports showed.

Ultimately, it’s up to families to scrutinize holiday decorations for possible hazards, especially dangers to babies and young children. You don’t want your child or another child injured from holiday decorations. It could expose you to not only tragedy but the potential for a personal injury claim from an individual who was injured at your home. Be safe and be aware. These are preventable injuries.

Did you know that even though holiday decorations make a home look festive, improper use can result in injuries, deaths, and property loss. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):

  • Approximately 1,300 people are treated each year in emergency departments for injuries related to holiday lights
  • Another 6,200 are treated for injuries related to holiday decorations and Christmas trees
  • Holiday lights cause about 510 fires each year
  • Christmas trees are involved in about 400 fires.
  • The National Fire Protection Association reported 156 deaths in 1997 from home fires started by candles
  • More than $170 million in property losses was attributed to candles. About one-sixth of fires started by candles occur in December

Here are some helpful tips to avoid accidents this holiday season:

  • Keep a watchful eye on your kids when they’re eating and playing.
  • Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, choking hazards (like coins and hard candy), and other objects out of kids’ reach.
  • Make sure toys are used properly.
  • Use step stools instead of climbing on furniture when hanging decorations.
  • Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
  • Since most residential fires occur during the winter months, keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don’t use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test them once a month, and replace batteries twice a year.
  • Handle and prepare food safely. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
  • Place Christmas trees and other greenery away from fireplaces and radiators. Keep tree stands filled with water-dried out Christmas trees are a fire hazard.
  • Check each set of tree lights for frayed wires, broken bulbs, and loose connections. Throw away damaged sets. Never string more than three sets of lights on an extension cord, and never run cords or strings of lights behind drapes or under carpets. Turn lights off when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Place lit menorahs and other candles away from decorations and drapes. Place candles out of children’s reach and where pets can’t knock them over. Blow out all candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • If you have small children, avoid sharp or breakable decorations. Keep tinsel and other small trimmings out of children’s reach. Avoid using decorations that look like candy or food-they may tempt a child to eat them.
  • Use caution when decorating with spun-glass “angel hair” or “bubble lights.” They can cause injury if they are swallowed. Only use spray snow that’s labeled nontoxic.
  • Keep holiday plants away from children and pets. Mistletoe, holly berries, and Christmas cactus are poisonous if swallowed. Poinsettias can cause stomach irritation in humans, and they can make pets very sick.

If you have been injured in an accident, call the Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorneys at Brannon & Brannon.

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