Deck the Halls, Don’t Wreck Them: Christmas Accidents to Avoid

Deck the Halls, Don’t Wreck Them: Christmas Accidents to Avoid

Christmas invokes plenty of positive memories for individuals, including spending time with friends and family, gift-giving, and enjoying holiday treats. Unfortunately, this special time of the year often involves an increase in the number of personal injury accidents. For example, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated for last year that 799 people would be involved in a fatal car accident during the Christmas to New Year’s Day period. With this situation in mind, we provide a list of some common Christmas-related accidents and tips for preventing them.

santa on the floor

Seven Common Christmas Accidents

Tree Catching Fire

From faulty lights to overstretched outlets to dried out trees, Christmas tree fires can be a potential issue for homeowners. According to the US Consumer Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “From 2015 to 2017, on average, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires (in November and December), resulting in 20 deaths, 160 injuries and nearly $50 million in property damage each year.”

How to Prevent:

  • Keep your tree watered throughout the time it’s in your home
  • Check decorations for faulty parts and replace them if needed
  • Never use a live flame near a tree or other flammable materials
  • Install a surge protector to limit potential electrical fires near your tree
  • Switch off your tree’s lights before going to bed or out for an extended period of time

Slips and Falls

Slipping or falling on stairs, over chords associated with decorations, toys/gifts on the floor, and spills are more frequent during the Christmas season.

How to Prevent:

  • Keep your stairways and other floor space clear of objects
  • Limit your drinking to minimize slips and falls while using stairs

Electrical Shocks from Decorations

Electrical shocks come with the careless placement of decorations requiring electricity and overloading your home’s outlets.

How to Prevent:

  • Install surge protectors if you need to use a single outlet for many decorations’ plugs
  • Check the wattage of your decorations and ensure your outlets can handle it
  • Don’t try to force plugs into outlets
  • Check for faulty parts on decorations before plugging them into an outlet

Punctures and Cuts

Cuts can come from a variety of places during the holidays, ranging from gift opening to meal preparation to gift wrapping.

How to Prevent:

  • Be mindful when handling sharp objects and don’t be distracted while using them
  • Ensure the cutting tool is sharp

Car Accidents

Increased socializing and drinking and more people traveling leads to an uptick in car accidents during Christmas time. According to a 2019 announcement, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 115 people may be killed on the roadways during the Christmas holiday driving period (6 PM on Dec. 24 to 11:59 PM on Dec. 25. Inclement weather and fatigue can be additional causes.

How to Prevent:

  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Get plenty of rest before hitting the road
  • Drive without distractions: phone, radio, sun glare
  • Ensure your vehicle’s windshield wipers and defroster work properly

Back Injuries

People may experience back strains and pains because of not properly lifting suitcases and heavy gifts.

How to Prevent:

  • Squat before lifting and ensure you have a firm grasp on the object

holiday dinner preparation

Kitchen Accidents

From grease fires to food poisoning, kitchens during the holidays pose a number of risks for injury.

How to Prevent:

  • Monitor your cooking temperature and aim to keep grease from splashing on you or your heat source
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Properly vent your kitchen while cooking; pop a window or run an exhaust fan
  • Avoid contaminating your preparation surfaces with things like raw meats or eggs
  • Disinfect surfaces after you’re done cooking
  • Ensure food is cooked thoroughly before serving