Hey Mama,

I know we love a holiday. What’s better than a house full of festive decorations and everyone gathered around the table to enjoy a delicious meal to celebrate this special time of year? We also know it takes work hanging up the decorations, and time and energy to plan for these special gatherings.

Even with all the holiday cheer of the season, this time of year can also be an accident waiting to happen. During the holiday season, emergency rooms across the U.S. see an increase in visits due to holiday-related injuries and illnesses. Read on to learn about some of the most common holiday injuries, and how you can take sensible precautions to avoid them.

Decorating Injuries

Many of these injuries involve falling from ladders while hanging lights or decorating the Christmas tree. To avoid a fall, use caution while decorating:

  • Have someone hold the ladder and spot you.
  • Make sure the ladder is on a firm, level surface.
  • Stay in the center of the rung you’re standing on.
  • Space the ladder’s base 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet it extends up.
  • Position the ladder so you don’t have to lean.
  • To reach a roof, extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the roof’s edge.
  • If you need to gain a little height to place ornaments on a Christmas tree, don’t try to balance on a chair or other piece of furniture. A step stool is a better option.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. 
  • Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them. 


Cooking and Carving Injuries

When it comes to the holidays, families spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Be cautious as you prepare your family’s favorites.

  • Make sure you’re comfortable with the carving tools you’ll be using to serve the meal. Finger and hand lacerations spike during the holidays due to the misuse of knives or carving tools.
  • Anaphylactic shock is a very common reason for ER visits during the holidays. Make sure hosts and family know any dietary restrictions before they serve you or your family.
  • Deep frying a turkey can be tasty, but also dangerous. To avoid injury, be sure that the bird is fresh or completely thawed. If the bird is wet or not totally thawed, it can catch on fire or even explode. Splashed grease can cause anything from burns on the arms or feet to singed eyebrows if you aren’t careful. 
  • Food poisoning is another common complaint in ERs around the holidays. To avoid this unfortunate addition to your holiday plans, use a meat thermometer to avoid undercooking your protein or other holiday dish. If serving buffet style, make sure dishes are kept at appropriate temperatures with warmers or ice buckets. 

The holidays are a joyous and festive time of year to spend with loved ones, not the emergency room! However, if you or a family member has an emergency this holiday season, Texas Emergency Care Center provides 24-hour care in Pearland and Atascocita 365 days a year.