Christmas is a time to spend in church, shopping in stores, and visiting the homes of family and friends.
For too many people, it is also a time to spend in the hospital, recovering from Christmas decoration-related injuries.
According to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), holiday decorations do more than put us in the Christmas spirit; they also cause the injuries of about 240 Americans each day.
In 2018 alone, approximately 17,500 people were treated in the emergency room for injuries related to trying to get into the Christmas spirit. The most frequent of these decorating-related injuries are falls. Tumbles from ladders, stools, chairs, and roofs account for 41% of all injuries. Accidents with ladders also account for 3 deaths during the season.
After falls, lacerations account for 10% of injuries, and back strains amount to 5%.
Holiday misadventures begin on Thanksgiving. The CPSC says that an average of 1,700 cooking fires take place on that day — three times the average number of any other day of the year.
Two of the biggest purveyors of pain are essential elements of Christmas decorations: Christmas trees and candles. In addition to the injuries that can be caused in the course of cutting down, setting up, and decorating trees or in placing the candles in aesthetically-pleasing locations, they are the top causes of holiday fires.
Fires From Christmas Trees and Candles
|Christmas Trees *||Candles **|
|Property Loss||$15.7 million||$42.2 million|
The CPSC offers helpful recommendations about how to keep yourself, your family, and your home safe during Christmas. These tips include making sure live trees remain well-watered and fresh, checking each string of Christmas lights for defects, refraining from throwing wrapping paper in the fireplace, and making sure you have sufficient and adequate smoke alarms throughout your home.
Disappointingly, the CPSC’s section about “Decorating a tree with small children?” refers to safety tips for when children are assisting with trimming the tree. We had our hopes up that we had stumbled across yet another quaint Christmas tradition in which little ankle-biters could be used to adorn the evergreen Christmas symbol.
The dangers are not over once the decorations are in place. The CPSC also reports that in 2019, there were an estimated 162,700 toy-related, emergency room-treated injuries, and 14 deaths. Most of these incidents were attributed to choking on small parts. Of course, readers of Commonplace Fun Facts were already put on notice about the fact that Teddy bears are more dangerous than their living counterparts.
The take-away of all of this is to be careful during this season of celebration. Christmas should be a time of celebration. On top of that, Commonplace Fun Facts has a vested interest in your wellbeing: if anything happens to you, our readership statistics will tumble just like someone falling off a ladder.