It’s time to decorate for the holidays! And while it’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of the season, safety must be priority. According to medical data gathered during the holidays, “decorating mishaps” send about 250 people to the ER every day this time of year, with falls, cuts and back injuries topping the list. To ensure you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season with your friends and family, here are 8 safety tips to keep in mind as you deck halls:
- Leave it to the professionals! Sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits. If you can afford to, leave the rooftop lights to the professionals!
- Call a friend. Always have someone there to spot you on the ladder when climbing to the rooftop. We hope it doesn't happen, but they may one day be the one who catches you when you fall to soften the blow.
- Keep live trees away from heat sources. Place your Christmas tree at least 30 feet away from the fireplace or other heating sources. Keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Live trees are highly flammable when they start to dry out. Check the water level every other day to ensure proper hydration. Better yet, consider buying a fake tree. And, if you do, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant”.
- Prevent falls. You’ll want to prevent tripping by placing cords and decorations in low-traffic areas where they won’t be walked on. Also, when stringing lights and decorations above your normal reach, make sure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base. When decorating outside, keep ladders and decorations away from overhead power lines. More accidents from ladders happen this time of year than any other month.
- Double-check your lights for safety. Replace any lights with frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. Christmas lights alone aren't a fire hazard. However, holiday decorators should avoid overloading extension cords and electrical sockets with tree light strands in case of a short circuit. That is where the danger lies. NOTE: Lights should be approved by Underwriters Laboratory. "UL" will be clearly displayed on the tag, signifying the product has been inspected for potential safety hazards. Red UL marks indicate the lights are safe for indoor/outdoor use, and green UL marks indicate the lights are only safe for indoor use.
- Power down before you turn in. Turn off all lights when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid any chance that a short circuit could start an electrical fire. Using a timer to schedule lights if a great way to take care of this.
- Be extreme cautious when using candles. Candles are used in many holiday festivities for every kind of celebration. Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended. And, keep them out of reach of small children.
- Only buy unbreakable ornaments. If you have crystal or glass or fragile ornaments, place them out of reach from pets and kids. Cuts can become infected and really cause pain and harm.
- Keep children safe from outlets. If you have children in your home, use safety caps on all electrical outlets that are not in use to prevent shock. This is a protection that should take place all of the time, not just during the holidays.
- Consider your pets when displaying poisonous plants. While pretty and a part of many holiday decors, poinsettias are poisonous when consumed, so keep them out of reach of your pets.
Ortho El Paso and The Precision Hand Surgery Center at Ortho El Paso wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season. For treatment of injuries and surgeries of the shoulder, elbow, hand, knee or hip, call the orthopedic surgeons at Ortho El Paso at 915-249-4000.