SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Whether you wait until after Halloween or after Thanksgiving dinner, we’re starting to see decorations and lights for the upcoming holiday season go up across the Ozarks.
From area homes to businesses like Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, more people are starting to get into the holiday spirit. However, it’s also a time when fall injuries start becoming a little more common. That’s something Lindsay Turner, trauma outreach and education coordinator at CoxHealth, can attest to.
“This type of activity can stay pretty steady throughout the year,” Turner said. “However, incidents involving ladders and similar falls do increase around the holidays with putting up Christmas lights.”
Safety is something that Turner and other medical experts take very seriously. A three-year study by the CDC showed that more than 14,000 people went to the ER for decorating-related injuries during the holiday season. Of the 5,800 fall injuries reported, 43% were caused by falling off ladders. On top of that, 47% of those accidents required hospitalization. With her experience as an ER nurse, Turner has seen a variety of injuries come from those accidents.
“Depending on the patient’s age and comorbidities, the injuries can get pretty serious,” Turner said. “Some of the most common we’ve seen are head injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, spinal injuries, and broken wrists or legs from trying to catch themselves when they fall.”
As for tips to make sure people stay safe while decorating for the holiday season, Turner says it starts with making sure your ladder is good to go.
“Make sure your ladder is on a stable surface,” Turner said. “Make sure that there are no wet leaves or snow or anything under the ladder that could cause it to slip. Make sure your ladder is not broken or has bent ladder rings in any way.”
One good tip is called the three-step contact rule. This is where you have two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet on the ladder at the same time. This will help to keep the ladder and the user stable while putting up lights and other holiday decorations.
Another great tip is to wear non-slip or slip-resistant shoes clear of any mud and snow to keep yourself stable and further reduce your risk of falling or slipping. Lastly, have someone else help you with decorating by at least supervising or holding the ladder to make sure it stays stable. Taking these steps can make sure everyone can safely get into the holiday spirit once again this season.
Additional ladder safety tips can be found here, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.
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