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Deadly Holiday Season – 10 Injury Statistics That Will Surprise You

Ah, the holidays are here, a time of good cheer! Unfortunately, for thousands of Americans it is also a time of accidents, injuries, or even death. Yes, the holiday season is fraught with danger, often from the very traditions we treasure.

What makes the holiday season so dangerous? Check out these 10 injury statistics. They may surprise you.

Dangerous Decorating — In 2017, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that more than 14,700 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries that occurred while decorating for Christmas. In 2018, this number increased to 17,500. In 2019, six people died. Who knows what 2020 has in store for us? The most frequent Christmas decorating injuries are falls (41 percent) followed by lacerations (10 percent) and back strains (5 percent).

Holiday Fires — The National Fire Protection Association reports that about 770 home structure fires per year began with Christmas decorations (excluding Christmas trees) from 2014 to 2018, causing an annual average of 30 fire injuries, two deaths, and $11 million in property damage.

Christmas Tree Fires — Christmas tree fires are particularly deadly. Roughly one out of every 32 reported residential Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 reported residential fires. 50 percent of Christmas tree fires are caused by faulty lights and candle decorations.

Candle Fires — In December, about 13 percent of all home fires are candle fires. There tend to be more candle fires than Christmas tree fires by a factor of about ten to one. For example, from 2015 to 2017, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires during the holiday season, resulting in an annual average of 20 deaths, 160 injuries and nearly $50 million in property damage.

Cooking Injuries — The busiest day for cooking fires is Thanksgiving Day with an average of 1,700 cooking fires occurring on Thanksgiving each year. This is more than three times the average number of cooking fires that occur on other days of the year. While cooking fires are the number one cause of residential fires, fire-related injuries aren’t the only type of cooking injuries to be concerned about over the holidays. Scalds and burns from cooking and frying turkeys are extremely common (more than 100,000 scalding accidents occur per year).

Fall Injuries — Ladder falls are common during the holidays thanks to holiday decorating and seasonal maintenance like cleaning out rain gutters, roof repairs, and removing snow from the roof. A CDC analysis of 5,800 fall injuries attributed to holiday decorating over three years found that 43 percent were caused from falling off ladders. Of those who fell, almost half (47 percent) required hospitalization. Slipping and falling on ice is also common during the holidays with 82 percent of workplace ice-related slip and fall injuries occurring on level ground.

Toy Injuries — Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an estimated 162,700 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and 14 deaths to children younger than 15. With the holidays the biggest toy-gifting season of the year, gifts could be deadly. Most of the deaths involve choking hazards from toys with small parts. High powered magnets, button batteries, and riding toys are also dangerous.

Poisoning — Visiting Grandma and Grandpa is also hazardous. 38 percent of ER visits for child poisoning from medicine occurred after a child got into a grandparent’s medicine. Button batteries are another concern, not only because they are a choking hazard, but they can lodge in the esophagus and burn a hole in it in just two hours, cause death, or require extensive medical care and long-term reliance on breathing and feeding tubes. Other poisoning dangers include ingesting poisonous holiday plants like mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis as well as food poisoning.

Car accidents — ’Tis the season for holiday travel. Car travel has the highest fatality rate per passenger mile of any major form of transportation. The National Safety Council predicts that 340 people could die on U.S. roads this Christmas weekend and another 384 could die the following weekend over New Year’s.

Alcohol impairment — As if holiday driving wasn’t already dangerous with additional miles traveled on busy roads, drunk drivers are also out in force thanks to office holiday parties, family gatherings, New Year’s Eve parties, and other festivities. According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drunk drivers play a role in 40 percent of traffic deaths over Christmas and New Year’s, a 12 percent increase compared to the rest of December. The 2018 holiday season resulted in 285 deaths from drunk driving accidents, all of which were 100 percent preventable.

While many of these injuries can be avoided by taking appropriate precautions, accidents happen. With the pandemic raging across the country, we have yet another deadly danger lurking over the holidays. We urge you to please do everything you can to stay safe this holiday season.

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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