Top 8 Common Holiday Accidents and Top Tips to Avoid Injury

So, the Christmas season is here, and it’s time to relax and have fun. Whether you celebrate Christmas or some other religious event, it’s hard not to get caught up in the festive atmosphere that surrounds you.
Top 8 Common Holiday Accidents and Top Tips to Avoid Injury

So, the Christmas season is here, and it’s time to relax and have fun. Whether you celebrate Christmas or some other religious event, it’s hard not to get caught up in the festive atmosphere surrounding you. You could be erecting and decorating a Christmas tree or up a ladder transforming the outside of your home into a lighting art installation. It is also the time of year we see a mass exodus of our cities as people migrate to the beach to escape the oppressive summer heat.

Unfortunately, it is also the time of year we see an escalation of holiday accidents causing personal injury as people either:

  • Under the influence of alcohol or other substances
  • Let their guard down – people on holidays become less careful.
  • Engage in new and unfamiliar activities.
  • Increase their appetite for risky behaviour

Christmas Statistics for Holiday Accidents

At this potentially dangerous time of year, we see an increase in road deaths, particularly between 23rd December and 3rd January, when many people are relocating to be with family and friends. During this time, there is an escalation in traffic-related injuries. You might be surprised to learn that medical statistics show increased harm from holiday lights, Christmas trees, excessive alcohol, food poisoning, and even champagne corks, leading to hospital emergency room admissions.

Don’t be a statistic this holiday season. Keep safe by knowing the Top 10 common holiday accidents and essential safety tips for avoiding them.

1) Falling from a ladder

You are statistically more likely to have a Christmas holiday accident claiming a ladder than at any other time of year. You likely have had no reason to climb a ladder for the previous 11 months of the year, and now you are hanging Christmas decorations, exterior lighting or taking the opportunity to do some home maintenance. There is always a temptation to overreach and take an additional risk that can lead to your demise.

How to avoid ladder accidents

When using a ladder, please ensure the base is on a secure, level, and non-slippery surface. For portable ladders, you should always have 3-points of contact. Do not overreach under any circumstances. Instead, climb down, move your ladder to a more accessible area, and ascend. Please resist sitting, standing or climbing on the flat section at the top of the ladder. A few extra minutes of attention could save you a trip to the hospital when you should be with your family and friends.

2) Car and Road Accidents

During December and January, there is a substantial increase in traffic on Australian roads. More vehicles equal more road accidents, particularly between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. This time of year delivers a higher number of car crashes but fewer motorcycle, pedestrian and cyclist accidents.

Speeding is the number one cause of road trauma and traffic deaths, but collisions also occur due to alcohol, driver distraction, and impatience. If you are lucky, you might suffer a bruise, but considering that 9% of road deaths happen in December, you might want to increase your road user awareness.

How to avoid holiday accidents on the road

It may seem obvious, but to avoid motor vehicle accidents, you should

a) Slow down – allow more time if you need to get somewhere urgently. Allow yourself the courtesy of arriving late and unharmed.

b) Don’t drink and drive – even one drink can obscure your judgement, especially when the weather is hot and you feel dehydrated.

c) Be patient – vehicle crashes often happen when driving aggressively, frustrated by slow-moving traffic and taking unexpected risks like running a red light or moving through a stop sign.

d) Don’t tailgate – The most common type of car accident is a rear-end collision. Surprisingly, driving close to the road user in front does not make them accelerate. You are automatically the at-fault driver if they stop suddenly and you hit them.

e) Obey traffic signals – The fines for breaching traffic rules keep escalating. You could blow a chunk of Christmas cash on traffic violations and living with a permanent or temporary injury.

3) Slips, Trips and Falls

It’s unsurprising that slip and fall injuries are a leading cause of holiday accidents during the festive season. If you have had a few drinks or are tired from excessive heat or lack of sleep, you are more likely to pay less attention to your safety. Additionally, you could take a tumble walking around your home due to electrical cords or discard Christmas toys.

Warehouse shopping is a popular holiday pastime, and shopping centres are packed. Crowded stores and shopping venues mean staff are overworked with compromised maintenance. In this situation, slips and falls are more common. You could have a legal damages claim when you suffer a slip or fall injury in a public space (or privately owned venue). Contact our personal injury compensation team for immediate assistance if this is your situation.

How to avoid slip and fall injuries

  • Be aware of where you are walking
  • If you are excessively tired or intoxicated, have a nap
  • Clean up excess electrical cables, random toys and other trip hazards
  • In public spaces, let the staff know when there are spills and other floor hazards

4) Food Poisoning

So, you have to cater to many people in your crowded house, and it’s hot. December and January are our hottest months and the time when food poisoning incidents are rising. No one wants to spend their holidays bent over a toilet bowl, admitted to a hospital, and on an IV drip. Maybe you need more fridge space, or you could have had a few drinks and forgotten you left the seafood on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes. Gut-wrenching germs can develop quickly when it is 35 degrees and humid.

How to avoid food poisoning

You must keep foods at a safe temperature. Uneaten-cooked meats should be refrigerated as soon as possible. Hot foods need to be stored at a minimum of 60 degrees Celcius, and cold foods at a maximum of 4 degrees Celcius. If you must have foods on display for some time, please use foods that do not require heat or cold to be safe, like nuts, chips, popcorn, cookies, chocolate, etc.

5) Back Injuries

Back injuries are one of the common types of physical harm caused by holiday accidents, particularly in older people. A frequent cause of back pain is bending and lifting from an awkward position or lifting objects too heavy for you. Additionally, excess alcohol during holiday festivities is a frequent factor in spinal damage. Furthermore, too much food, alcohol, sugar, caffeine and stress can inflame your muscles, predisposing you to harm your back or spine.

How to avoid back injuries

Avoiding back and spine injuries is always better to be safe than sorry. Do not lift when intoxicated; always have another person help you lift a heavy object. Bend at the knees, not from your waist and ensure even weight distribution as you lift. Always face the thing front-on. Refrain from twisting to lift an article. A few simple precautions will mean happy holidays and no persistent back pain destroying your festive spirit.

6) Toy Injuries

Unfortunately, Christmas holiday accidents also happen when children opening gifts cause an injury. If you can buy a toy, it should be safe. This is only sometimes the case. Manufacturers have a legal duty of care to produce safe goods. If a toy harms your child, you should contact our product safety lawyers for expert advice. Legal action is often the primary trigger for manufacturers to remedy their unsafe products.

How to avoid toy injuries

Before purchasing a toy for children, always consider its safety. Please consider the ability and age of the child and anyone else who might use the toy. Peruse the labels and warnings of the toy and any parts that could enter a child’s mouth. You can do a Google search for reviews and comments from other users.

Read more – What is public liability? >

7) Electrical Injuries

Christmas is known for extravagant or straightforward indoor or outdoor light displays. Thankfully, many of these are low-voltage solar installations and pose little risk. However, for people who want maximum-impact electric light exhibits, mains electricity is the way to go. The temptation is to overload your power boards and circuitry with too many cords and extensions. There is an additional risk if your lighting is exterior and it gets wet.

Holiday electric hazards can lead to fires or electric shock. Christmas tree fires and decoration fires, in particular, are surprisingly frequent. Electric shock injuries are typically the outcome of poor use of extension cords.

How to avoid electricity causing holiday accidents

  • Don’t run extension leads underneath furniture or cover them
  • Don’t link multiple extension cords
  • Don’t be tempted to use interior lighting, outdoors or vice versa
  • Don’t overload a single electrical circuit

8) Toxic Smoke

Burning excess paper and plastic can produce toxic smoke that can cause you to become ill. During the holiday season, you might be tempted to eradicate excess rubbish by burning it. Apart from the fact this will likely breach local council regulations, the consequences can be severe. You could make yourself or your friends and neighbours ill from your poisonous smoke.

How to avoid smoke injuries

It’s obvious, but… don’t burn rubbish. Rid yourself of trash by recycling or having someone come and take away your garbage. Your lungs and health are more important than saving a few dollars by burning your waste.

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

Splatt Lawyers wish you the best this Christmas season and hopes you and your family are safe. If the unexpected happens and someone is harmed by the negligent actions of another person or party, you should contact us immediately. You must understand your legal options when something goes wrong. The steps you take following your incident will impact the outcome of your case.

Our experienced personal injury lawyers will help you know if you have a claim and who is liable for damages. Be aware that when seeking compensation, it is an insurance company that is usually funding your payout. This fact is reassuring to know if the person who failed their duty of care was a friend or family member.

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