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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stay Safe While Stringing Holiday Lights: Don't let "Ho, Ho, Ho', turn into 'Ouch'!

Who can forget the scenes of Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold hanging thousands of lights in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? While his careless and clumsy manner makes for some good humor, the reality is that every year, holiday light hanging causes serious injuries.
At Texas Orthopedics, we've treated several Central Texans who've suffered serious falls that have resulted in back, hip and leg injuries.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a three-year study and found that about 18,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for falls alone while hanging Christmas lights. That number only includes people who sought medical treatment in an emergency room. It's estimated that the real number of injuries is significantly higher; perhaps two or three times this number.
According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital ERs treat about 12,500 people for injuries such as falls, cuts, and shocks related to holiday lights, electrical decorations, and Christmas trees every year.
Safety Tips:
These tips may seem like common sense but we'd rather be safe than sorry:
  • Don't hang lights in the rain
  • Never put a ladder or stool on a slippery or wet surface
  • Never plug lights in if you are near water or ice
  • Be careful if it's windy. A gust could knock you off balance
  • Always decorate in daylight and watch out for old nails, staples and broken bulbs from years past
  • Never hang over an edge from the roof to hang lights
  • Make sure the ladder you use is wide-based and in good condition to handle your weight and body size. Don't stand on the very top of the ladder.
  • Don't mix alcohol with decorating - that can be downright dangerous.
  • Have someone present with you while hanging the lights to get help should an accident occur
While you may want to outdo Clark Griswold, use common sense and take the extra precautions so you can fully enjoy this holiday season.
From all of us at Texas Orthopedics, have a safe and happy holiday!
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