12 Days of Christmas Accidents or “Hey, You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid!”
Accidents related to putting up and taking down decorations top the list of causes for emergency room visits during the holiday season. Christmas morning injuries most commonly occur form use of scissors and knives used to open the ridiculously secure packaging on toys and other gifts. Home accidents typically rise in certain categories. The National Fire Protection Association reports an average of 230 Christmas tree related home fires each year but there are increases in many types of holiday mishaps…
1-Putting up decorations either with a ladder or standing on your desk at the office can be more dangerous than most people realize. Remember, we are a year older than when we got the boxes out of the attic last year. I try to have my kids hold the ladder, that way they are right there to film for America's Funniest Home Videos or call 911.
2-“Honey you should see what it looks like from out here!” -Turn off interior and exterior Christmas lights and displays before you go to bed or leave the house. Keep your tree watered all during the holidays.
3-Distractions while cooking are unavoidable, make a point to turn off stovetop if you have to leave the room. Choose a surface area for frying that turkey that is not combustible. Use a concrete driveway away from vehicles and the garage rather than a wooden deck or balcony.
4-Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to be sure one is installed on every level of your house and outside each sleeping area. Check to be sure you have a working fire extinguisher and that it is readily accessible for your family members. Have the chimney checked before your first yuletide fire of the season.
5-Online shopping delivery and charitable solicitations mean an increase in ringing of the doorbell. Be careful opening your door to strangers unless they are singing and holding candles or twelve years old. Request signature for deliveries or have a trusted neighbor take delivery.
6- "The crate says Fra-gi-le. Must be Italian!" Break down boxes and packaging for recycling /trash and try to fit inside containers. You don’t want to leave a detailed inventory of shiny new electronics at the curb for thieves to check off.
7-“Well, it’s just one too many” - Don’t overload your electrical outlets inside or outside. Be sure your outdoor lights are meant for outdoor use. Follow labeling as to how many strings can be connected end to end. Discard broken, frayed, or brittle strings of lights. Too many attic summers in Charleston will eventually cause plastic to degrade. New lights are really inexpensive.
8- Candles – Never leave unattended and don’t forget that, as they burn down, the decoration at the base may be exposed to an open flame. Never use candles near your Christmas tree! According to the NFPA, December is the peak time for candle related fires.
And be careful, don’t shoot your eye out kid!