Holidays in the Hospital: Most Common Holiday Hazards

Every season, emergency rooms treat countless Americans for injuries sustained from the hazards of the holiday. People hurting themselves around Christmas time is about as traditional as singing carols. But, it only makes sense considering the basic ingredients for disaster are totally afoot from November until January. Folks are going overboard with the eggnog and the Christmas lights leaving them vulnerable to harm. Nurses, beware, ’tis the season for some of the craziest accidents. And, the worst thing about this somewhat-silly injuries that pour in the ER each year is that they all begin with very plausible scenarios, that really could happen to anyone.

Holidays in the Hospital: Most Common Holiday Hazards

Falling while Decking the Halls.

The US Consumer Safety Commission reported over 13,000 injuries sustained in 2010 from decorating-related mishaps. Unfortunately, that’s the most recent statistic so it is hard to say whether that has changed over the last few years or not. Either way, YIKES!

According to CNN, there’s 3 main types of holiday fall groups:

  • Older people hurting their necks or heads putting up lights outside.
  • Intoxicated middle aged men hurting their wrists or shoulders.
  • Children trying to help decorate and ending up with head injuries or concussions.

Falling can happen from something as silly as slipping on black ice when putting up lights or losing balance on a ladder.

Decoration-related Fire Ho,Ho,Hazard.

The national fire protection association says Christmas trees are highly dangerous. Roughly $990 million dollars of damage happens in the U.S. annually from fires annually. And, 400 lives are taken from fires each year according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Prevention of holiday fires include:

  • Buy fresh trees- Check for green color; not brown. Also, make sure the needles are strong still by seeing that they don’t break when bent.
  • Look for fire resistant fake trees
  • Place trees away from heat sources- make sure that they are not near fireplaces or vents
  • Use fake candles- especially when you have children or pets in your home
  • Place candles in safe areas

Alcohol-related Holiday Accidents.

And then of course, the source of so many oopsie-daisies; regardless of what time of year it is–ALCOHOL. During the season, people are more likely to indulge in over consumption of the hard stuff.  It makes sense, everyone is off from work and attending those booze-fueled holiday shindigs. No matter the other ingredients (operating vehicles, having family altercations, falling, or cooking knives), drunks are always the main part of a recipe for disaster.

“New Toy” Injuries.

Believe it or not, a large bunch of people that end up taking a trip to the ER during the holidays, are because of accidents that occur with presents they just received. For instance, anything new with wheels has the potential to cause a major spill. Like when Uncle Jim gets new Harley and gets just a little too excited about hopping on the hog and crashes immediately. Let’s just hope that people start gifting more helmets with these kinds of gifts.


Each year, nurses wait quietly as mice, waiting for both the silly and sad holiday accidents to pour in. Let’s just hope that these holiday hazards don’t ever happen to us!

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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