The holidays are a time of excitement and joy for most. Unfortunately, many of the seasonal activities we take part in can lead to injuries. Use the following tips to help avoid an accident and enjoy the holiday season to its fullest.

Slips and Falls

Falls are the third-highest cause of unintentional death in the United States. The risk of falling increases during the holiday season due to colder weather conditions, increased travel, and alcohol consumption. Use the following advice and avoid injury this holiday season.

  • Keep sidewalks shoveled and free from ice. Don’t hesitate to ask a neighbor for help if needed.
  • Go slow, walk flat-footed, and avoid looking at your phone when walking. Be aware that vehicles take longer to break in inclement weather.
  • Walk with empty hands and arms to maintain balance.
  • Exit your vehicle with two feet on the ground to avoid knee injuries.
  • Cold muscles are tight muscles. Stretch before you walk.
  • Check your boots for good tread.

Decorations

The CDC2 estimates that over five thousand people go to the emergency room due to a decorating accident every holiday season. Of those accidents, roughly 43% were attributed to a fall including a ladder. Follow these tips to help prevent a trip to the ER.

  • Always check your ladder for broken rungs and make sure it is sturdy and steady before decorating.
  • Use the 4-1-1 rule by placing your ladder one foot out from the wall for every four feet needed to climb.
  • Secure ladders properly on level ground free from ice.
  • Don’t allow children to help on the ladder.
  • Have a spotter when decorating the roof.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol while decorating increases your chance of injury.

Fires

Another increased risk during the holidays is a house fire. Holiday decorations like Christmas trees, fireplaces, candles, and faulty lights are common culprits. According to NFPA1, emergency services respond to roughly 160 Christmas tree fires every year resulting in over ten million dollars in damage. Protect your family and property by taking the following precautions.

  • Consider buying a fire-resistant artificial tree. If a real tree is a must, keep it far from ignition sources like candles and fireplaces. Always keep it well watered.
  • Check your decorative lights every year for faulty wires and damaged bulbs. If damaged, throw them away. Use LED lights with low heat output.
  • Avoid decorating the mantle above a wood-burning fireplace. Keep all floor decorations and presents far from the front of the fireplace.
  • Do not burn a fire when there are children present.
  • Use flameless candles. When using real candles, set a reminder to blow them out, keep them away from the reach of children and pets. Locate them far from any other flammable décor.

Car Accidents

With more traffic and often poor weather conditions during the holiday season, car accidents increase. NHTSA3 estimates over 1,100 fatalities will occur on the roads this year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. From icy roads to intoxicated drivers, here are some precautions to take to avoid an accident.

  • Before the holidays, visually inspect your car’s wipers, tires, lights, washer fluid, and seatbelts. Pack a roadside survival kit including a blanket, candles, snacks, water, matches, and jumper cables.
  • Plan ahead and take it slow. Never check your phone while driving. Signal early and leave extra space between the cars around you to avoid hard braking. Keep your phone on your person so it’s accessible in the event of a crash.
  • Secure a sober ride home before you begin drinking.
  • If you suspect a drunk driver on the roads, pull over and dial 911. Do not attempt to follow the vehicle.

Please have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

We help people daily who struggle with the consequences of injuries.  If you’ve been in an accident, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have about your legal rights. Since 1883, the attorneys at Doar, Drill & Skow have represented families, individuals and businesses across Wisconsin and Minnesota in areas of personal injury, criminal defense, family law and divorce, civil litigation, estate planning, and trusts, workers compensation and more. We are recognized as one of western Wisconsin’s most skilled and successful personal injury law firms and have built our reputation on what we achieve for our clients. We are committed to being your advocate, regardless of your circumstances.

DISCLAIMER: The Doar, Drill, and Skow blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported may come from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these types of situations choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.