Christmas time is a time filled with joy and gifts, but for many unlikely individuals each year, it’s filled with trips to the ER as well. Christmas decorations result in roughly 15,000 ER visits from December to January. With the significant increase in patient volume, doctors have noticed a pattern of some of the most common injuries.

Back Injury

back strains are the most common type of back injury seen this time of year, but more severe injuries such as fractures also occur. Many of the back injuries seen come from patients who have fallen off of roofs and ladders either hanging or removing their Christmas lights. If you’re going to be climbing to great heights to make your home stand out this holiday season, be sure to do so safely and responsibly.

Lacerations

From misused tools to slipping knives while preparing a Christmas feast, lacerations fill some emergency rooms. Instead, you’re installing decorations indoors or outdoors, take the time to wear gloves and other safety equipment before handling sharp tools. A laceration will typically result in stitches and in severe cases, an infection of the lacerated area. While you’re decorating your table with a Christmas feast for everyone to enjoy, take the time to handle knives properly to avoid slipping and cutting your hand or arm.

Falls

Christmas lights are the primary cause of back injuries and fall alike. Many individuals make the mistake of trying to decorate while under the influence of one too many glasses of eggnog and end up losing their balance along the way. Even if you’re sober, all it takes is one misplaced step to go tumbling from the top of a ladder while hanging Christmas lights. To avoid falling, have a friend or family member hold the bottom of the ladder steady while you climb and decorate. Even shorter step stools used for decorating your interior spaces can lead to painful falls resulting in neck, back, or hip injury.

Fires

Misplaced candles and neglected Christmas trees cause a large number of house fires each holiday season. Take your time to review the guidelines of how often to water your Christmas tree or opt for a fake tree instead. Candles should be kept at a distance from Christmas presents, table runners, and other festive decorative pieces. You should inspect your smoke detectors throughout the home to ensures that if a fire does occur your family will be able to escape safely.