The holiday season can be a stressful time for people as friends and family gather to celebrate each other and the past year’s triumphs and lessons learned. From driving around town to buy gifts for everyone, getting groceries for the big meal, and decorating the house there are many opportunities for accidents to happen. We hope that by pointing some of these out you’re able to have a happy and safer holiday season by knowing what to look out for.
#1 Slip and Falls
The holiday shopping season is always busy for retail stores as people flock to deals in order to save some money. This means that spills and messes in the aisles can take longer for staff to get to and clean up, and with more people walking around the chances of an accident increase. To add to the danger winter weather can lead to ice in parking lots and on sidewalks where a slip may lead to an emergency room visit and medical bills to deal with. And let’s not forget sharp objects like ice cycles and the damage they can cause, who hasn’t seen A Christmas Story after all.
Decorating the house for the holiday season is another leading cause of injury during this time of year. The increased use of ladders to put up outdoor lights and decorations causes more accidents than most people realize. According to the Electronic Safety Foundation International, 5,800 emergency room visits are directly caused by people decorating their house.
Many decorations are also sharp objects in disguise. Just because something is pretty doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm if you happen to fall on it, or if it falls on you.
#2 Alcohol Related Injuries
As people gather and enjoy time off work during this time of year there is typically an increase in alcohol consumption. This unfortunately also leads to an increase in drinking related accidents, which is one of the most common injuries following family gatherings as people are driving home after having a few too many beers or glasses of wine. Driving while intoxicated is always a bad decision, and during the holidays it can turn a joyous occasion into a sad one quickly.
If you are in a car accident and injured during the holidays, you’ll need to contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance to make sure that your rights are protected.
#3 Choking & Food Poisoning
Meals are a central focus during the holidays as people cook up more dishes than they normally do. Choking is unfortunately a common enough occurrence that it made this list as things to watch out for. It’s always a good idea to take your time while eating, but the increased discussion and distractions can sometimes cause people to bite off more than they can chew.
Holiday meals often include dishes that are only made once a year, which means accidents can happen as the cooks aren’t familiar with them. An undercooked ham or turkey can easily lead to food poisoning, which can ruin the most wonderful time of the year. Even if you are using a turkey fryer it’s easy to undercook your main dish. (On a side note, if you are frying a turkey be sure that it is completely thawed and that they hot oil is a safe distance from any structures.)
#4 Electrical Fires & Electrocution
With lights being put up once a year many electrical outlets are being used to their full potential every holiday season. This leads to an increase in the likelihood of an electrical shock due to faulty wiring, or a missing bulb in a string of lights.
Fires can also start from loose connections being near something flammable. Keep your family safe and be sure to check your smoke alarm, wiring, and outlets at the start of the season to make sure everything is in good working order.
#5 Christmas Tree Accidents
Live Christmas trees are a tradition that many families maintain to this day. Keeping them watered is vital while they are in your home so that you can avoid the hazards of a dry Christmas tree. Dry trees are much more flammable and can spread a fire very quickly to the point of becoming out of control before people can react.
Larger trees also represent a hazard if they fall on someone due to their weight. This is especially dangerous for children that my think it’s a good idea to try to climb the trees without realizing they will fall over. Nothing will ruin your holiday party faster than a hurt child due to a toppled tree.
Battery operated toys are often given as gifts during the holiday season and if used correctly bring great joy, but when parents aren’t looking small children can injure themselves. The smaller button batteries are easily swallowed by children, which can lead to numerous issues and a visit to the emergency room to get them out before things get worse. Keeping an eye on children and helping them assemble toys if necessary is a good way to avoid these types of accidents. Toy safety is important to keep in mind on the day of Christmas.
#7 Steps and Flooring
Going to an unfamiliar house for a party has its own types of hazards that can lead to a personal injury situation. Exterior steps may have ice that appears invisible to the naked eye and lead to a nasty fall when entering or leaving a house. It’s also important to be aware of any interior steps between rooms due to how a home was built. Remaining aware of your surroundings is a good way to avoid a Christmas accident.
#8 Christmas Ornaments
Broken ornaments represent a sharp hazard that can lead to cuts that may require a trip to urgent care or the hospital to have them professionally taken care of. Pets often the cause of ornaments being broken as curious cats will bat at them until they come off the tree and shatter on the floor.
Christmas is a time when people with food allergies need to take extra care. The ingredient list of pre-packed food should list all major allergens but be cautious with catered food. Many caterers do not list all ingredients on their menus, so it is important to ask about specific allergens. Some caterers may be unaware of common food allergies, such as those to peanuts or tree nuts. If you are hosting a Christmas party, ask your guests if they have any food allergies before serving any food. It is also a good idea to have a few snacks on hand that those with food allergies can enjoy.
#10 Festive Plants
Mistletoe and Holly are both plants that are deeply tied to the Christmas season, but they are also both poisonous. If you choose to have these in your house during the holiday season, be sure to keep them away from children and pets to avoid these kinds of holiday injuries.
What To Do If You Are Injured This Holiday Season
If one of these common injuries happens to you this holiday season you may have a premises liability or personal injury claim. After seeking medical attention, you may want to reach out to an experience personal injury law firm for a consultation to see if you have a claim.
The attorneys at Shook & Stone have been handling personal injury cases for clients injured in Nevada since 1997. In this time, we have over 25,000 satisfied clients and helped them recover over $750,000,000. Give us a call at 702-570-0000 for a free consultation and let us help ensure your rights are protected.