‘Tis the season for a hospital trip: Decorating mishaps happen more than you think

Hanging Holiday Lights or taking them down :)(Getty Images/iStockphoto/KatSnowden)
Now that Thanksgiving is over, some people can’t wait to get their holiday decorations out and put up around the house.

While it might sound silly to say you can get hurt decorating, imagine how the 200 people who get hurt every day while decorating feel when they have to explain their injury. Because that’s how often it happens this time of year.

Many of those injuries can involve ladders.

“There are more falls putting up and taking down Christmas decorations each year than there should be,” said Dana Baiocco, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissioner.

Any time you need a ladder to help decorate, it’s no longer just a solo project.

“We see that with older citizens, they get up on the ladder, there’s nobody there, they lose their balance fall while trying to hang or take down decorations.”

At the same time, you want to make sure that kids and pets aren’t running around underneath the ladder either.

“Don’t do it by youself, you want to have someone who helps you climb, helps you get down,” said Baiocco.

Likewise, once you’re safely on the ladder, Christmas lights can pose their own problems too.

“If you take them out of storage and you look at them and they have frayed wires, or they have cracked bulbs, or cracked sockets, don’t use them,” said Baiocco. In addition, “don’t use a stapler, and when you store them, don’t put them away wet.”

Believe it or not, some people put candles on trees too, which is a big no-no.

But at the same time, you want to be careful about the windowsills too. If a candle slips and nudges a curtain or a breeze sends it into the flame, it doesn’t take long for disaster to strike.

“Too many times somebody walks away from a candle that’s by a curtain or a drape,” said Baiocco.

At a demonstration day last month, it took less than a minute for a curtain that had caught fire to swamp a whole living room wall in flames. On a dried out Christmas tree, a fire that started had the whole room in flames even faster.

“Candles are so important,” she stressed. “Make sure you don’t leave them unattended and put them in a safe place, away from flammable fabrics.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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