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Holiday decorating accidents send thousands to the ER each year

Many Tennessee residents go all out when it comes to holiday decorations. Whether it is having the perfect tree, or the most lights on the house, for many, decorating is a huge part of the holiday season and one they look forward to each year. However, this delight may be short-lived, especially when a decorating accident leads to a hospital trip.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year more than 15,000 people ended up in emergency rooms due to decorating-related accidents. These accidents ranged from people falling from roofs while putting up holiday lights to injuries after the Christmas tree caught fire.

So far this year, an emergency room physician -- who is also a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians -- said he has already seen dozens of decorating-related injuries, including those from people hurt decorating while under the influence.

In some cases, while the injuries can be rather minor, Tennessee residents are being warned to take decorating safety seriously as some accidents can result in serious injuries, including broken necks and permanent damage.

To prevent decorating-related injuries, a Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman said using common sense is key.

In terms of falls related to putting up decorations, the commission also put together a list of ladder safety tips, including:

  • Always use the correct size ladder for the job.
  • Make sure the level is on even, firm grounding before climbing.
  • Check the maximum weight limit of the ladder and only use the ladder for its intended purpose.
  • Do not use metal ladders near power lines.
  • Have someone there to help hold the bottom of the ladder.
  • Only one person at a time on the ladder.

Overall, the number of decorating-related injuries actually rose from 2009 to 2012. However, the hope is that by putting safety first in 2013, many Tennessee residents will still have nice looking decorations without a trip to the emergency room.


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