Holiday Decorations Sending Thousands to ERs

aPutting up holiday decorations is a ritual many families look forward to all year; although there is no national collection of data on the subject, it is estimated that about 15,000 Americans are taken to emergency rooms every year from decorating-related accidents. Injury attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm explain how this estimation was calculated and how the worst accidents can be avoided.

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) is a product database that tracks emergency room visits and which products cause them. NEISS data shows that about one-fifth of all injuries involve holiday lights, and half of injuries are from non-electronic decorations, like trees, ornaments, and wreaths.

Families typically begin decorating as soon as Thanksgiving is over, though hospital visits begin in early November. Emergency room visits are most prevalent between December 4th and the 7th, and there is another jump between January 1st and 5th, presumably when people are removing their decorations.

Many injuries involve falls from ladders or chairs, causing head injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and muscle strains. Another major cause of injury is children who accidentally swallow toxic products. According to the NEISS data, one-year-olds are most susceptible to accidental ingestion, however, even middle-aged adults have been sent to ERs for ingesting ornaments and other objects.

Burn Injuries, Drunken Driving, and DUI

Aside from the most obvious culprits, there are many other hazards Americans need to look out for over the holidays. Cooking is the leading cause of burn injuries during the holiday season, ranging from minor to fatal. Whether it’s from unattended cooking, frying food, or loose clothing, the kitchen is far and away the most dangerous place during the holidays, particularly for children.

About one-third of home fires are caused by space heaters; the most important step families can take to prevent a space heater fire is to keep it clear of blankets, clothing, and furniture. Never fall asleep while a space heater is on, as it should always be monitored, kept away from children, and turned off when no one is in the room.

Christmas trees are involved in hundreds of fires every year. To avoid fire hazards, keep the tree well-watered and away from candles and fireplaces. Make sure to check the tree lights for frayed wires, broken bulbs or any other electrical defects.

Between mulled wine, spiced eggnog, and poinsettia martinis, there is no shortage of holiday-themed cocktails. Like any other holiday, Christmas and New Years have higher-than normal drunk driving accidents, which too often result in life-threatening injuries. Even the most cautious of drivers could be victim of a drunk driver, whether they are driving the wrong side of the road, swerving in and out of traffic, or not paying attention to ice and weather conditions.

There is another kind of DUI putting Americans at risk over the holidays – decorating under the influence. Trying to decorate anything besides a gingerbread house during or after drinking is a recipe for disaster. For more information on decorating safety, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guide, located here.

The injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have been working on these types of cases for over 30 years. If you have any questions about a serious injury or death of a loved one, contact our firm today. Our legal consultations are always free and available to potential clients in all 50 states.

There is another kind of DUI putting Americans at risk over the holidays – decorating under the influence. Trying to decorate anything besides a gingerbread house during or after drinking is a recipe for disaster. For more information on decorating safety, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guide, located here.

The injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have been working on these types of cases for over 30 years. If you have any questions about a serious injury or death of a loved one, contact our firm today. Our legal consultations are always free and available to potential clients in all 50 states.

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