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7 tips to prevent injuries when preparing for the holidays

7 tips to prevent injuries when preparing for the holidays

While holiday decorating is a great way to bring extra cheer to your home this season, it also can put you at risk for orthopedic injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 15,000 Americans were treated in the emergency room for injuries related to holiday decorating in 2019.

From fractures to back injuries, a joyful moment with family can quickly turn into a trip to the doctor if you don’t take the right steps to protect your bones and joints. Use these seven tips to reduce your risk of injuries so you can have a fun and healthy holiday season.

Use ladders safely

Ladders are one of the top sources of fall-related injuries when decorating for the holidays. Make sure you choose the right ladder for the job and place it on a flat, stable surface. You’ll want to always keep at least three points of touch on the ladder, for example, two feet and one hand.

Prevent fall hazards

Extension cords, strings of lights, or other decorations can create tripping hazards. Keep walkways clear of cords or clutter, especially if you have senior adults or young children in your home. Instead, run cords and lights along the wall and secure them.

Follow proper lifting

From getting heavy boxes of decorations out of the attic to putting luggage in the car, you may be doing more lifting than usual during the holiday season. Practice proper lifting technique every time — pull the load as close to your body as possible, bend your knees, and keep your back straight.

Choose the right tools

It might be tempting to stand on a box or the edge of your sofa arm to hang a decoration that’s just out of reach, but these can put you at risk for a fall. Take the time to choose the right tool for every decorating job, whether it’s a step stool to help you reach or anchors to make sure your decorations are secure.

Don’t mix drinking and decorating

Being under the influence of alcohol or other substances when decorating can also increase your risk of injury. Never climb on ladders or roofs after drinking, as this makes falls even more likely. Wait to enjoy a drink until after you put up decorations, especially in high places.

Ask for help

One of the best ways to prevent orthopedic injuries is to know when to ask for help. Get a family member to lift that heavy box with you or ask someone to be your spotter when on a ladder. If you’re unsure about getting on the roof to hang lights or can’t reach something on your own, find a friend, family member, or professional to help.

Get expert care

Even with the right prevention, sometimes injuries still happen when you’re busy decorating for the holidays. Any major falls or signs of a broken bone require urgent care. And if you or a loved has a minor orthopedic injury that doesn’t get better after a few days, seek out care too. Orthopedic specialists can determine the cause of your pain and make a plan to get you back to enjoying your holiday season.