Don’t Become a Real-Life Home Alone Character - Stay Safe This Holiday Season
We’ve all seen the slapstick scenes in Home Alone, when Kevin McCallister fights off bad guys using a series of traps involving household items like nails, tar, broken glass, and even video clips of the fake gangster movie “Angels With Filthy Souls.” This series of booby traps eventually sends the burglars running, and Kevin triumphs in keeping his home safe until his parents return from their holiday vacation without him. Watching these two “Wet Bandits” suffer various injuries on TV might elicit some belly laughs, but in real life their shenanigans would leave them needing immediate medical attention.
A 2013 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report estimates that more than 15,000 Americans injure themselves each year during holiday-decorating festivities. Among the most common incidents seen in emergency rooms were falls (34%), cuts (11%) and back strains (10%).
- Follow Ladder Safety 101, and always read labels and heed warnings on ladders. In other words, don’t try to stand on that top rung, and have a family member be your ladder spotter at the bottom when you’re up high.
- Set up your tree away from all heat sources, including gas fireplaces and lamps that get hot to the touch. Try to find a corner to put it in—away from foot traffic and doorways to avoid people tripping over the skirt.
- If you have small children or pets, hang breakable and small ornaments up high. Same goes for decorations that look like candy.
- If you like to light candles, light them on a steady surface, up high and away from kids and pets. Burn them only in an occupied room, and make sure to blow them out before you go to bed.
- Use lights that have been safety tested in a nationally recognized laboratory, like Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). See a UL red holographic label? That means it’s OK for indoor and outdoor use. The UL green holographic label means it’s been tested for indoor use only.
- Check your lights before you hang them up. Throw out lights with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. And if you’re lucky enough to have a glorious vintage metal tree, don’t use electric lights on it!
- Plug outdoor lights only into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)–protected receptacle or portable GFCI.
- Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have a working fireplace in Florida. But if you do and the temperature dips down low enough for you to light a fire in it, don’t throw wrapping paper on the fire—it can burn quickly and intensely.
If you or a loved one does end up getting hurt during this jolly time of year, it can be tough to figure out when to doctor yourself and when to go someplace for care. For major injuries like heavy bleeding, a deep wound or a serious burn, head to the ER or call 911. For sprains, back pain or minor broken bones or eye injuries, you can go to urgent care. If you’re not sure, call your doctor, even after hours, where you can get the answers you need.
You can read more about how to decide when to visit the ER here. Be prepared this holiday season, and stay safe out there!
Filed under: Healthy Living