How to Protect Yourself From Holiday-Related Personal Injuries

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How to Protect Yourself From Holiday-Related Personal Injuries

The holiday season should be a time for joy and laughter. But the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can also involve potentially dangerous activities. If you aren't careful, your holiday activities could end in serious injury.

You can avoid injury by learning about common holiday activities that can lead to injury and by following important safety tips. 

1. Putting Up Lights

In 2012, 15,000 people injured themselves putting up Christmas decorations, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

You can avoid becoming one of those statistics by following appropriate safety procedures. One of the most common ways you can injure yourself is by falling off a ladder. Before you use a ladder, follow these tips:

  • Inspect the ladder before using it. Don't use it if it's damaged or if there are missing screws, bolts, or hinges.
  • Make sure the ladder is placed firmly on the ground before you begin to climb. Place the base of the ladder a quarter of the ladder's length from the wall. Make sure there is no slippery material near the ladder's feet or any of the steps.
  • Ask someone to spot you.
  • As you climb, keep two hands and one foot on the ladder at all times.
  • Don't stand on the top step.

It's also important to exercise caution with the lights themselves. For outdoor decorating, use only extension cords approved for outdoor use. To guard against electrocution, using ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) is a necessity. Keep electrical cords away from snow and water. Finally, don't overload electrical outlets.

2. Driving to See Family

Driving over the holidays can be more stressful than other times. Bad traffic, aggressive drivers, and snowy weather can increase accident risk. Make sure to follow these tips:

  • Follow all speed limit signs.
  • Don't text, smoke, or engage in other distracting activities while driving.
  • Leave a three-second following distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for obstacles and aggressive drivers.
  • Yield to other cars.
  • In snowy weather, slow down and increase following distance.

No matter the driving conditions you're up against, avoid aggressive driving practices like changing lanes without signaling or tailgating other cars. Don't allow yourself to react to aggressive drivers. Avoid these drivers whenever possible.

3. Delivering Treats

Are you planning to deliver a plate of cookies to a friend or neighbor? This might not seem like a dangerous scenario, until you come across your neighbor's angry dog. Follow these tips for dealing with aggressive dogs:

  • Don't run away. Back away without turning your back on the dog.
  • Don't look the dog in the eyes.
  • Use a soft tone.

If the dog bites you, don't attack back, which will further aggravate the dog. Use an object to block the dog's attacks. Call 911 or a medical professional, depending on the seriousness of the bite. Check with the owner to find out whether the dog was vaccinated for rabies.

If your friend or neighbor has a dog (or you're unsure whether they do) it's best to let them know you're dropping by so they can secure the dog. Surprises can be fun, but dog attacks are not.

4. Putting Up Christmas Trees

You may not realize how easy it is for Christmas trees to accidentally catch on fire. Pay attention to the following:

  • Place your tree away from vents, radiators, and fireplaces.
  • Don't place lit candles on or near the tree. Supervise lit candles at all times.
  • Keep your tree watered. The drier it is, the more it's at risk for catching fire.
  • Choose lights that have been safety tested.
  • Don't use any lights with frayed wires or broken sockets.

Another Christmas tree safety tip: avoid decorating it with ornaments that are easily broken. It's particularly important to avoid glass ornaments that could shatter and leave dangerous glass shards behind.

5. Lighting a Fire in the Fireplace

The holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy a cozy fire in the fireplace. But a cozy fire can turn dangerous if you don't follow these safety tips:

  • Make sure a smoke detector and fire extinguisher are nearby.
  • Clear the area of books, paper, and other flammable materials.
  • Clean ashes from previous fires before lighting a new fire. Store the ashes away from the house in a container with a tight lid.
  • Don't use more than two logs for the fire.
  • Keep the firescreen closed.
  • Sit at least two feet away from the fireplace.
  • Don't leave the fire unattended.
  • Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving.

To avoid fireplace obstructions, get your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year.

Follow these tips and you can have a safe, healthy holiday season. If you do get injured over the holidays, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Clearfield & Associates to discuss 

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