As Christmas approaches, many people are looking forward to spending time with their family, decorating their homes, and participating in festive activities. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers that can arise during this time of year and take steps to avoid them!
Every year, our firm puts out a blog post about holiday-related injuries because this time of the year tends to see the most ER visits, slip and falls, and auto-accidents, even in Florida where the weather doesn’t change as drastically as it does in other states. If you have questions about safety tips or are already dealing with a Christmas-related injury, don’t hesitate to call our firm and learn about what we can do to serve you.
Here are the 6 most common Christmas injuries and how to avoid them:
1 – Falls.
Decorating your home for the holidays can be a fun activity, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that every single year, around 18,000 Americans go to the ER for injuries caused by Christmas decor, many of those being fall-related. Standing on ladders or chairs to reach high places can be especially risky, as can using extension cords or power strips. To avoid falls, make sure to use a sturdy ladder or step stool, and never stand on chairs or other unstable surfaces. Use extension cords and power strips carefully, and avoid overloading them.
2 – Burns/Fires.
Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are among the leading days of the year for home fires (topped only by Thanksgiving Day). Cooking is a big part of the holiday season, so it’s important to be careful when using stoves, ovens, and other appliances, as this is where fires often start – in the kitchen. Burns can happen when food or drinks are left unattended, or when hot surfaces are touched accidentally. To avoid burns, never leave cooking food unattended, and keep children and pets away from the stove and oven. Use oven mitts and potholders when handling hot pots and pans, and be careful when pouring hot drinks.
Decorative candles, Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations can be potential fire hazards if they are not used properly. To avoid fires, be sure to keep candles and other open flames away from flammable materials, such as curtains or tree branches. Keep trees and other decorations away from heat sources, such as radiators or fireplaces, and be sure to turn off any decorative lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
3 – Cuts.
Many holiday activities, such as wrapping presents, cooking, and decorating, involve the use of sharp objects. Cuts can happen when these objects are handled carelessly, or when they are not stored properly. To avoid cuts, always keep sharp objects, such as knives and scissors, out of reach of children. When using them, be sure to handle them carefully and store them in a safe place when not in use.
4 – Electric shock.
Christmas lights, electric candles, and other decorative items can be a source of electric shock if they are not used properly. To avoid electric shock, only use lights and other electrical decorations that are in good working condition, and avoid overloading outlets or extension cords. Be sure to unplug lights and other electrical items when they are not in use, and never use them near water.
5 – Food poisoning.
Holiday meals often involve cooking large amounts of food, and it’s important to handle and store it properly to avoid food poisoning. To avoid food poisoning, be sure to cook food to the proper temperature, and store it in the refrigerator or freezer promptly after it has been cooked. Avoid leaving food out at room temperature for long periods of time, and be sure to wash your hands before handling any food that you or others will be eating.
6 – Car accidents.
Car accidents peak around Christmas time, not just because there are more cars on the road, although there are, but also because of many other factors. In Florida, it gets darker earlier, and visibility may be decreased. People tend to be in a hurry to get places – rushing around shopping or traveling to parties – and there’s more speeding on the roads. There’s more drinking happening, and people may drive drunk, underestimating their lack of quick response time and judgment. Parking lot accidents are more frequent (due to Christmas shopping). The National Safety Council estimated that as many as 350 people or more may die on the roads on Christmas Day.
While you can’t control the actions of other drivers, you can stay as safe as you can by exercising additional caution on the road, wearing your seatbelt, ensuring that all of your car’s equipment is functioning properly, and having a plan for what to do if you are involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
By taking the above precautions, you can help to ensure that your Christmas is as enjoyable and safe as possible for you and your loved ones. If you do suffer from a holiday-related injury this season, The Florida Law Group is here for you. We can give you advice and guidance about how to proceed.
If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, our compassionate Florida personal injury lawyers will take the time to listen to you, investigate the accident, and inform you of your legal rights and options. We can contact the insurance company or companies involved and handle all of the paperwork and negotiations for you. Our firm is nearly four decades old and, to date, has recovered over $1 billion on behalf of our clients. Unlike many personal injury attorney teams, we aren’t afraid to go to trial for you if that’s what it takes to secure a fair settlement that accurately reflects the full value of your injuries. You can call to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss the best next steps. We charge on a contingency fee basis, meaning that no clients pay legal fees unless and until we recover damages for them!