Bizarre holiday injuries — and how to prevent them
By Brittany Anas
You’ve heard about the grandma who got ran over by the reindeer. Or perhaps you’ve seen the injury-prone Clark Griswold’s series of holiday bloopers — from slipping off the roof to electrocuting himself?
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the injury stats and emergency room visits start increasing. Frozen turkeys dropped on toes? Pointsettias poisoning pets and making humans sick, too. Oh, and we’d be remiss not to mention the injuries that happen in shopping carts.
Here’s a few of the common (albeit bizarre) injuries that are most common this time of year — and how to avoid them:
Luggage injuries: It’s a thing. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there were 53,790 luggage-related injuries in 2012. Because nobody wants to spend their holiday vacations with aches and pains, take a few precautions. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that when you’re shopping for luggage, find a sturdy, light piece with wheels and a handle. Pack lightly. And, if you can, pack items in a few smaller bags instead of a large piece of luggage.
If you’re using a backpack, make sure it has two padded straps that are adjustable — and don’t sling it over one shoulder, because the weight can’t be distributed evenly. Don’t twist your body when lifting or carrying your luggage — but, point your toes in the direction you are headed and then turn your entire body in that direction. And when it comes to that moment when you need to stash your luggage in the overhead compartment, first place it on the top of the seat in front of you, suggests the orthopedic surgeons.
Holiday decorating: Whether it’s a wobbly ladder that gives when you’re stringing lights or an icy roof that has you in the splits and clutching the gutter, holiday decorating can be dangerous, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 13,000 people during the holiday months end up in emergency rooms because of decorating-related injuries.
When you’re decking the halls this year, the commission suggests taking a few safety precautions. If you’re buying a live tree, make sure it’s fresh — the needles should be green, hard to pull from branches and won’t break when bent between your fingers. Keep your tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents and radiators. Look for “fire resistant” labels on artificial trees.
Give a helmet: You’re the coolest aunt ever because you customized a skateboard for your nephew. Or, maybe you got your daughter a dirt bike. Make that a two-part gift and wrap up a helmet and other appropriate safety gear. The thing about cool gifts is they get broken out right away — so be sure you’re prepared with all of the safety gear because chances are you won’t be able to run up to the store on Christmas Day to pick up helmets.
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