Sometimes the hectic pace of the holiday season causes people to unknowingly let their guard down, making them more susceptible to bone, joint and muscle-related injuries. And let’s face it, ending up in your doctor’s office or the emergency room during the holidays is anything but jolly. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for and safely celebrate the season, especially when it comes to holiday decorating and potentially hazardous gifts.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on average, 160 decorating-related injuries occur each day during the holiday season. This includes hand and other extremity injuries due to artificial trees and stands, lights and other adornments, and falls while hanging lights and other decorations, which account for half of the injuries. Typically, falls are associated with ladders. To minimize the risk of injury related to climbing ladders, remember to:
- Select the right ladder for the job. When working at low and medium heights, choose step stools or utility ladders. Extension ladders are ideal for use outdoors to reach high places, as when hanging items from the rooftop.
- Inspect ladders for loose screws, hinges, or rungs that may not have been fixed from last use.
- Clean off any mud or liquids that have accumulated on the ladder.
- Set up the ladder correctly. Identify a firm, level surface. Watch for soft, muddy spots or uneven flooring, and never place a ladder on uneven ground. Remember the 1-to-4 rule: the bottom of the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet that the ladder rises.
- Move materials with caution when on the ladder, and always position the ladder close to the work area so you do not lose your balance and fall.
- Wear proper footwear with securely tied shoelaces.
Toy-related injuries continue to impact thousands of children in the United States each year. According to the CPSC, in 2020, there were nearly 150,000 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries among children ages 14 and younger. In particular, nonmotorized scooters account for 21 percent of all toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries. The number of injuries increased 17% in 2021, from 35,600 scooter injuries reported in 2020 to 41,700 injuries reported in 2021.
With toy manufacturers and retailers facing both supply-chain delays and global shipping issues, consumers are concerned about a possible toy shortage. This could lead to a mad dash to buy products from anyone that has them available, which increases the opportunity for dangerous or counterfeit products on the market. In addition to following age guidance when purchasing toys and including any appropriate safety gear with your purchase, follow these safety tips for online shopping:
- Always buy from stores and online retailers you know and trust.
- To avoid counterfeits, scrutinize the product, the packaging and the label. If the price seems too good to be true, this could be a sign that the product is counterfeit.
- Look for a certification mark from an independent testing organization and the manufacturer’s label on electrical products.
While we sincerely hope your holidays remain jolly and accident-free if you experience an injury to your upper extremities, the fellowship-trained physicians at The Hand Center are here to help. Dr. Steven Kronlage, Dr. Alex Colemanand Dr. James Piorkowski provide non-surgical treatment options and surgical intervention for adult and pediatric patients. We also offer same-day and next-day appointments in our Gulf Breeze and Pensacola locations, as well as telehealth visits. State-of-the-art, on-site imaging and diagnostics are also available at both locations to make visits as convenient as possible. Give us a call today at 850.807.4200 or schedule an appointment online.