This time of year is joyous; however, far too many people are unnecessarily injured during the holiday season. While many injuries occur as a result of vehicle accidents, there are thousands of other injuries caused by putting up or removing holiday decorations.
The online videos of people falling off ladders or roofs while decorating for the holidays can be very amusing, but the reality is, those falls hurt and some of them cause serious injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 18,000 visits were made to emergency rooms during the 2016-17 holiday season. The majority of these injuries were caused by falling while decorating. Sprains and strains due to lifting heavy objects were the second most common injuries during this period.
This time of year, the lights can be dazzling. Some neighborhoods have competitions to see who has the best light show. While the sights may be awe-inspiring, creating the vision can be hazardous. With displays on roofs and in trees, the potential for falling is great.
Falling is not the only hazard. Improperly lifting heavy objects can cause back strain and sprain muscles you were not even aware you had. Many people do not know about proper heavy lifting form. As a result, they lift heavy objects like Christmas trees or televisions using back muscles and get injured in the process.
Practicing Holiday Safety Measures
By now you should be aware of the usual holiday safety precautions regarding safe driving during the season, as well as Christmas tree and holiday decoration safety to prevent fires in the home. These are very important, as they affect millions across the nation every year, changing lives forever. The same cautious attitude needs to be applied to putting up or taking down decorations. People have fallen from a ladder or roof and died as a result. Thousands more have sustained injuries that required a hospital visit.
You can avoid being a holiday season statistic by follow a few simple steps.
- Check your ladder thoroughly before using it. Make sure the rungs of your ladder are intact, sturdy and dry. Also make sure your ladder is designed to hold your weight. Do not exceed its weight limit.
- Be sure to set the ladder up correctly. The 4-to-1 rule for ladder safety says that for every four feet of height you plan to climb, the base of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall. If you are climbing up eight feet, the base of the ladder should be two feet from the wall.
- Have a spotter for your ladder to hold it steady. The farther up the ladder you climb the less steady it may become.
- Keep the kids on the ground. Kids love to help with the decorations, but it is best for them not to climb up the ladder or help with roof decorations. The possibility of falling is too great.
- Decorate with others. It is best to have company when you are putting up or taking down the decorations in the event something happens. There is safety in numbers.
- Save the drinking for a job well done. Many of the accidents that happen during decorating are the result of too much alcohol consumption. Rather than drink and decorate, finish the job first then sit back and enjoy your accomplishments with a spirited beverage.
- Lift heavy objects with the legs, not the back. Brush up on proper heavy lifting form if you have heavy objects to deal with. You do not want to spend your holiday time nursing a strained back.
Practicing safe holiday measures can prevent many of the injuries that are so common this time of year.
Getting Help for Injuries
A broken bone, sprain or strain can be quite painful no matter where it occurs in the body. Without proper care and follow up treatment, these injuries can also have lasting adverse effects. Silicon Valley Orthopaedics provides treatment with long-lasting results so you can resume normal activities. When you have orthopedic needs that require treatment, contact us for a consultation appointment.