The popular Christmas film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has just about every holiday accident you can think of— from setting the tree on fire to electrocuting the cat to falling off the house. While these types of accidents and injuries provide a good laugh in the movies, they are very real. In fact, a lot of accidents occur over the holiday season, including fires, electrocutions, slips and falls, and car accidents. Fortunately, many of these accidents can be avoided by being cautious and using good judgement. Here are four common holiday accidents and how you can avoid them.
1. Fires. According to the United States Fire Administration, fires caused by cooking, heating and open flame all increase during the holiday season, and these fires are more severe than the average fire during the year across all loss measures. From 2004 to 2008, there were about 260 home fires each year due to Christmas trees, and 150 caused by decorative and holiday lights. To help prevent fires, do not leave holiday lights, candles, portable heaters, cooking appliances, and fireplaces unattended. Also make sure your smoke alarm is working efficiently and that your family knows what to do in the event of a fire.
3. Slips, Trips and Falls. Approximately 5,800 people are treated annually in emergency rooms for injuries sustained from falls involving holiday decorations, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Additionally, 4,000 people are treated in ERs for injuries from extension cords, and half of these accidents lead to fractures, contusions, sprains and lacerations. Along with extension cords, many fall accidents involve ladders. When decorating for the holidays, be aware of your surroundings and make sure a stool or ladder is stable before you step on it.
4. Car Accidents. The holiday season is one of the busiest travel periods of the year and a prime time for accidents. Accidents can occur as a result of the increased number of travelers, winter conditions, distracted driving, and drunk driving. Before you get behind the wheel, always wear a seatbelt, avoid using your phone and other distractions while driving, and drive cautiously on slick, icy roads. If you plan on consuming alcohol, always have a designated driver.
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