It’s the Holiday (Injury) Season!
Be weary of these risks and injuries that go up during the holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! Unfortunately, with the joy of the season comes many increased risks that can turn your White Christmas into a Blue Christmas. Among the leading causes of injuries at the holidays are cooking fires, space heaters, children’s toys, and holiday decorations. Below are some safety tips to make sure you have a joyful holiday.
Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, millions of Americans will be holding holiday feasts in their homes, deep frying turkeys and running extra ovens and stovetops to make sure every dish is prepared. With the increased cooking in the home, the risk of fires and burns also goes up. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there are 165,600 cooking fires on average each year, leading to an average of 200 deaths and 3,200 injuries. Deep fried turkey accidents in particular have caused over $9.5 million in property damage since 2000.
To help reduce the risk of a cooking fire, the CPSC recommends deep frying in a wide-open area and to closely monitor oil temperature to make sure it does not overheat. Additionally, burners should be kept far away from anything flammable, and kids should be kept away from the stove.
Space Heaters Fires:
At Christmas time, with chillier temperatures and company to keep warm, space heater use sores. However, space heaters are also the leading cause of house fires in the United States. Over 45,000 house fires occur each year because of a home’s heating system, resulting in an average of 500 civilian deaths each year and $1.1 billion in damage. Over half of these fires occur because space heaters are placed too close to flammable material, including upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses, or bedding.
To avoid space heater related fires, the CPSC recommends keeping space heaters away from flammable materials and that consumers only use space heaters that are certified as being tested for safety standards. Additionally, space heaters should be turned off when no one is in the room and should never be used in a room where people are sleeping. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should also be inspected annually.
According to a study by the CPSC, there were over 152,800 toy-related injuries to children under the age of 14 in 2021, including two deaths. Both deaths were related to infant asphyxiation from a very small object lodged in an infant’s throat and suffocation from a small infant rolling on top of a stuffed animal. Most non-fatal injuries were related to scooters, which injured over 44,000 children in 2021.
To avoid child injury from toys, the CPSC recommends parents follow the guidance and safety information on a toy, especially age and ability guidelines. Patents should also purchase safety gear with any scooter or bike, including helmets, and should keep small objects away from infants and toddlers. The CPSC also recommends promptly removing a toy’s packaging and plastic wrappings before they pose a danger to an infant or toddler.
Holiday decoration injuries:
Dry Christmas trees, burning candles, busted light bulbs, and decorating while on a ladder can all quickly lead to a dangerous situation. The risk of a fire from holiday decorations or a fall from hanging up decorations can quickly sour a happy holiday season.
The CPSC recommends making sure a live tree is well watered and an artificial tree is labeled “fire resistant.” Candles should be kept away from anything flammable and should always be extinguished when leaving the room. Never string together more than three strands of incandescent lights to reduce the risk of a fire. Last, when using a ladder, always inspect it for stability first, climb with caution in the center of each step, and do not overextend yourself to hang a decoration while standing on a ladder.
At the Poppe Law Firm, we hope your holiday season is filled with joy and that calling a law firm is the last thing on your mind. However, if you or a loved one does suffer an injury this season as the result of a product failure, or if an insurance company refuses to honor a policy to help you recover from any damage suffered over the holidays, please do not hesitate to contact us at the Poppe Law Firm.