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8 Holiday-Related Injuries That Are Surprisingly Common

The holidays are all fun and games until someone gets hurt. With all the hype and demands surrounding Christmas time, it’s no surprise that thousands of people are injured every year from falling off a ladder while stringing lights, cutting their finger while carving a turkey or bumping their head in a fender bender outside of the mall. With a little more patience and a lot more caution, everyone could drastically reduce their chances of holiday-related injuries. Here are 8 holiday-related injuries that are surprisingly common:

  1. Burns: Burns happen all too often during the holidays. From kitchen accidents, candles and accidental fires, burns are one of the most common holiday-related injuries. To prevent burns when cooking, use kitchen mitts and hot pads to protect yourself from hot surfaces and never leave cooking food unattended. Don’t leave candles burning unattended and make sure electric outlets aren’t overloaded because the smallest spark could cause a big blaze.
  2. Falls: Falls are very common around the holidays, when people go to great heights to decorate their Christmas trees and put up lights. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 17,465 people were treated at hospitals for holiday decorating-related falls. When decorating, use stepping stools instead of furniture and take precaution when stepping onto a ladder. Ladder injuries can be prevented by making sure the ladder is on solid ground and having a helper hold the ladder still while you are on it.
  3. Choking: With the amount of food being ingested and the small trinkets that kids get their hands on, it’s no wonder why choking is one of the biggest injuries during the holidays. Choking is a serious concern for families with small children and caution should be taken to make sure all of your holiday decorations are baby-proofed. As tempting as it is to snarf down those holiday meals, make sure you take your time to chew and swallow properly so you don’t choke on your food.
  4. Electric Shocks: Electric shock is a legitimate concern and common injury when dealing with Christmas lights and other electronic products around the holidays. One way to reduce the chance of electric shock is to buy reputable Christmas lights and electric products that have a safety certification mark, such as CSA, UL or ETL. Also try using a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent electric shock, and always use safety certified extension cords and power strips to avoid electrical fires. When it comes to using Christmas lights and other electrical decorations, use caution and make sure you follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  5. Sports Accidents: A good clean game of football with the family can turn dangerous when someone pulls their hamstring or is concussed after a hard-hitting tackle. Sports injuries are very common around the holidays when families get together and challenge each other to a competitive game. Even playtime for kids can result in injuries, like bruises, cuts and broken bones. If you’re going to play sports this holiday season, make sure you play nice and don’t overexert yourself to avoid unintentional injuries.
  6. Cuts: Cuts from rushed dinners and turkey-carving accidents happen a great deal around the holidays. You can’t be careless in the kitchen, especially when knives are involved. Keep a close eye on the knife and the position of your fingers when chopping, slicing or dicing. Also, beware of sharp edges on containers, packaging and kitchen tools that could cut you up pretty bad.
  7. Plant Poisoning: The mistletoe that you kiss under is the same plant that can cause illness if eaten by young children or pets. Mistletoe is just one of several holiday plants that can be hazardous if ingested. Poinsettia, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and most Christmas trees can be toxic if eaten and cause nausea, vomiting, skin rashes and other adverse side effects. In order to prevent accidental ingestion of poisonous holiday plants, keep your plants out of reach of children and pets and always have your local poison control center’s number on hand.
  8. Car Crashes: Christmas is one of the busiest travel times of the year. As more people hit the roads to go out of town in often dangerous weather conditions, the greater the risk for car accidents and car-related injuries. Not to mention, there are more impaired drivers out on the road during the holidays than the rest of the year. Whiplash, lacerations, bruises and broken bones are just some of the car-related injuries that can happen to drivers who’ve been in a car crash. In order to prevent car accidents, you can make sure you and your family and friends always have a designated driver after drinking, and avoid the roads late at night and during bad weather and high traffic times. Also, make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up at all times and young children are traveling in the correct car seats.

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