It sounds ridiculous, but Christmas related injuries can be a real problem! In the UK, more than 80,000 people required treatment for potentially festivity related injuries last year. In the USA, a few hospitals were asked to detail the most common Christmas related accidents they dealt with. Here are a few of our favourites. While some are quite funny, they’re worth bearing in mind this Christmas because nobody wants a trip to a busy A&E on Christmas day.
1) There were 45 Christmas light related injuries including: a four year old boy who swallowed a tree light (this is amazingly common), people falling off ladders putting up decorations and electric shocks from dodgy lights.
2) Christmas trees landed 56 people in the emergency room. These included allergic reactions, eye injuries after being poked in the eye, insect bites from insects in the tree, ladder falls, and back injuries from people putting up or taking down trees.
3) 190 people suffered from decoration related accidents. Who knew that a Christmas decoration could be so dangerous? From the accidental consumption of small decorations by children, to fights between children (or drunk adults) involving decorative projectiles, to people stepping on glass decorations and lacerating their feet, decorations can quickly turn from a festive improvement to a room into an accident waiting to happen.
4) People frequently use scissors or knives to screw battery compartments to toys, slip, and then stab themselves. Honestly this happens a lot. Use the right tools for the job, and try not to use excessive force..
5) Unwrapping presents. We know that some presents are so snugly wrapped, or in such absurdly over engineered packaging, that unwrapping can provoke “packet rage”. Unsurprisingly people resort to scissors, knives, keys, or pretty much anything to break into a particularly difficult parcel. Also unsurprisingly, this leads to lots of cuts on hands and even legs from where sharp implements slip. If you must use a knife to get access to a present, don’t stick the present on your lap and start cutting, place it on a surface or the floor!
6) Burns are really common over Christmas. There are often a lot of people in a house, and many cooks working on Christmas dinner. Hot fat, boiling water, and sharp knives make the kitchen quite a dangerous place. Drunken cooking is not wise, do try and keep sober until after you’ve finished!
7) Drunk relatives (or friends) are far more likely to have falls, do daft things, trip, and even have fights. Keep areas clear from clutter, keep lights on so people aren’t wandering around in the dark, and try to stay calm. Another tip is to empty all glasses at the end of the day. Often kids get up early to play with new toys on boxing day, and you don’t want them finishing your drinks that were left out.
8) Candles cause 50% more house fire deaths at Christmas than any other time of year. Dry Christmas trees burn like wildfire, so never put a candle near a tree, and don’t leave candles burning if nobody is around to watch them.
9) Poisonous plants and berries can be dangerous, especially to young children. It seems rather crazy that our “traditional” plants we associate with Christmas, are able to cause really very unpleasant symptoms. Misteltoe is poisonous, its berries contain toxins that slow the heart rate and can make you hallucinate. Orange Christmas cherry berries can give you a very upset stomach, and the Christmas rose is so good at causing diarrhoea, it was used as a chemical weapon by the ancient Greeks. Don’t let kids near plants, put anything with berries up high and tell all children that they must not eat them.