Be Careful: Holiday Decorating Can Be Dangerous

During November and December, falls are considerably more common, mostly from people putting up holiday lights and decorations. 

Serious falls are very common during the holiday season. A Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 250 injuries a day occur during November and December. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that for three years running, there have been over 5,800 fall injuries per holiday season related to decorating.

Holiday Decorating is Dangerous

The most frequently reported holiday decorating incidents seen in emergency rooms involve falls (34%), lacerations (11%) and back strains (10%). Half of those who fell from ladders were hospitalized. Holiday-related falls include falls from roofs and furniture, and from slipping or tripping. Approximately 50% of reported fractures were caused by falls from ladders. These statistics for holiday-related falls do not count falls from ladders related to home maintenance and repair, such as the seasonal chore of cleaning leaves from rain gutters or roofs, which means the numbers are even higher.

But avoiding injury in the first place is, of course, the best idea. Recommendations to avoid falls and the associated injuries include leaving gutter cleaning and holiday decorating to the pros. If you are going to decorate, make sure to use a ladder correctly. For example: Remember that aluminum conducts electricity. Use wood or fiberglass instead of a metal ladder for electrical work.

Don’t use ladders with loose or missing parts or ladders that sway, sag or lean to the side.
Don’t start ladder work in windy or inclement weather. If bad weather arises — especially rain, thunder or lightning — get off of the ladder, take the ladder down, and wait for the bad weather to pass.