Go To Ortho

Seven Safety Tips to Survive Christmas

Did you know that putting up Christmas decorations is a major cause of holiday injuries? According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms treat approximately 10,800 people for injuries related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees each year.

As much as we like helping our patients at Go To Ortho, we’d rather you avoid getting hurt than making “holiday memories” at our clinic with a broken bone or cut. Here are some tips to hopefully keep you from opening your presents in a cast.

How does it happen? Common holiday injuries include:

  • Slipping off the roof while decorating the house
  • Falling off a ladder while decorating the tree
  • Straining your back carrying heavy packages or your in-laws’ luggage
  • Cutting your hand carving up the holiday ham

1. Avoid Pulling a Clark Griswold: Check Your Ladder

Make sure your ladder is on an even surface, doesn’t have any broken rungs, and is clear of ice and snow. Wear no-slip shoes or boots. Have someone hold the ladder while you use it to provide extra stability. Not everybody is this lucky.

2. Don’t Let Grandma Get Run Over By a Reindeer – Or Fall Off A Stepladder

Falling is the number one cause of major injuries for seniors when at home. Older men and women should avoid putting up lights outside or standing on a stepladder to decorate the house. Have them relax and watch you do the hard work – after all, they’ve earned it!

3. Encourage the Kids to Join in the Fun – Safely

When it’s time to decorate for Christmas, bundle up the kids in their winter coats and send them outside to play while you manage the heavy lifting and decorate the hard-to-reach places. Then let them join in the fun with easy-to-reach decorations. “Trying to help” is lots of fun, just keep their “help” safely limited and prevent falls, cuts, or tangling with electric lights.

4. Leave the Dirty Work to the Professionals

No, we’re not talking about arranging for your annoying Great Uncle Giovanni to“mysteriously disappear” this holiday season. Consider hiring a professional to put up your outdoor lights. A quick Google or Yelp search will provide local options and reviews. When you consider the cost and pain of treating an injury, paying a professional to install outdoor lights is worth it.

5. Lay Off the Booze

Drinking during the holidays is another factor that causes holiday accidents. Enjoy your spiked-eggnog safely, but know your limits. Being impaired while putting up decorations or preparing dinner has led to injury, believe it or not. Fingers cut with cooking knives, glass cuts from broken wine glasses, you name it, we’ve seen it.

Of course, don’t drink and drive after holiday parties. Call a taxi, Lyft or Uber to get everyone home safely.

6. Watch Your Back Around Your In-Laws

We’re not talking about your mother-in-law’s barbed comments, we’re talking about their luggage. The holidays are a minefield of heavy things that need to be picked up: your in-laws’ luggage, boxes of holiday decorations, oversized presents. (Really? Another bowling ball for Christmas?)

It’s all-too-easy to strain your back. Remember to lift with your legs, not with your back. And watch out for Christmas clutter in the hallways and walkways to prevent trips and falls.

7. Avoid Christmas Morning Buyer’s Remorse

He loves the bicycle/motorcycle/skateboard you bought him for Christmas and he wants to run out and give it a try despite the lousy weather conditions. Avoid buyer’s remorse – and a trip to the ER. Let him try it in a safe area free of clutter, snow and ice. Yes, people really do break their ankles (or worse) Christmas morning trying out new gifts. If you know he won’t be able to wait, save the bicycle for his birthday and buy him a karaoke machine instead. That’s one way to get those pesky relatives to leave early!