Surprising Christmas Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Common Injuries

Dec 13, 2023


Christmas injuries are a very common reason that many patients end up in the ER around the holidays. Even the smallest tasks and traditions like decorating for the holidays that usually make this season feel so bright can be the cause of unpleasant injuries and a trip to the emergency room. 

So, how many people are injured each year putting up Christmas decorations? More than you would think. 

While all Christmas injuries won’t land you in the emergency room, it is still important to practice caution and understand when an injury is a medical emergency. For any emergency, illness, or injury you may face this holiday season, know that Complete Care’s freestanding emergency rooms are here to provide prompt and exceptional care whenever you need it. 

What is the most common injury at Christmas?

Slips and falls while decorating for the holidays tend to be the top reason we see patients in the ER this time of year. Exactly how many people end up in the ER for holiday decorating? In 2022, an estimated 15,000 people were treated in an emergency hospital due to a holiday decorating accident with 40% of those incidents involving a fall. 

Decorating for the holidays is one of the most joyous parts of the season, but if you aren’t practicing proper safety and caution, those twinkling lights and Santa Claus statues could land you in the emergency room — and that would ruin anyone’s holiday cheer. 

Unfortunately, slips and falls aren’t the only Christmas injuries to be weary of this season. 

What are safety hazards at Christmas?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and a time when accidents and emergencies are on the rise. If you happen to experience any of the following Christmas injuries, visit us at Complete Care for efficient and quality emergency care so you can be in, out, and back to your festivities. 

1. Falling off ladders while hanging lights 

Falling off ladders while hanging lights, displays, and other decorations is an unfortunate accident that too many people face each holiday season. Any type of fall can result in unpleasant injuries, but falling from heights is especially dangerous and can cause severe injuries. 

Falling off of a ladder can cause:

  • Spinal and back injuries
  • Neck injuries 
  • Head injuries including concussions (Keep reading: What happens if a concussion goes untreated)
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Swelling 
  • Bruising 
  • Internal bleeding 
  • Body aches and soreness

If you happen to fall off of a ladder and start to become weak, nauseous, or clammy, it is possible your body is going into shock. Seek medical attention immediately after a fall, no matter how minor your injuries may seem.

2. Cuts from broken ornaments 

Decorating the tree with your favorite sentimental and cheerful ornaments is such a wonderful tradition — however, many use breakable ornaments that can shatter if they fall off the tree or are dropped. Broken ornaments can lead to cuts and lacerations on the hands and feet. Thankfully, most Christmas-related cuts, like paper cuts from wrapping paper, can be treated at home with pressure, alcohol wipes for cleaning, and bandages. 

If your cut is large or deep (over two inches wide) or is on a sensitive area of the body such as the face, head to the emergency room. The medical staff will be able to determine if your cut needs stitches

3. Burns from lights or candle fires 

Lighting gingerbread or pine-scented candles and hanging string lights around the house can elevate the festive ambiance in your home. Despite their pleasing looks and smells, candles and lights can put you at risk for burns if you’re not careful. 

While hanging your lights, keep them off or unplugged until you are done decorating. The bulbs can heat up quickly and you could burn your hands or fingers. On that note, try not to string together more than three sets of lights at a time, and never overload electrical outlets. 

When it comes to candles, be sure to blow out those seasonal candles before you leave the house and never leave lit candles unattended. Keep lit candles away from flammable objects such as the Christmas tree, curtains, furniture, and stockings.

When should you go to the ER for a burn? Look out for these variables: 

  • The burn is on your face, hands, feet, or on a joint
  • The burn was caused by an electric shock or a chemical
  • There’s pus oozing from the burn
  • The pain gets worse with time
  • The burn is larger than three inches
  • Change in the thickness of the burn
  • Foul odor
  • Fever

4. Kitchen accidents and overeating 

Candles and lights aren’t the only burn risks around this time of year. Because the holidays require a lot of cooking and multitasking, being burnt by an oven or stove fire is incredibly common. If you notice any burn infection symptoms or see that the burn is large or is in a sensitive area, head to the emergency room. We have an article all about how to prevent kitchen accidents this holiday season that you should read if you haven’t already!

Another overlooked holiday danger is over-indulging in food and alcohol. Many people tend to overlook the dangers of overeating because it’s socially acceptable around this time of year to eat and drink as much as you want; however, stuffing your stomach over its limits can lead to severe pain, vomiting, dehydration, difficulty breathing, and other alarming symptoms that may require medical attention. Practice caution and self-control when it comes to Christmas dinner this year to ensure that you can actually enjoy your holiday.

Complete Care can care for any and all Christmas injuries! We’ve got you covered this holiday season.

Christmas injuries tend to sneak up on us when we least expect it. With so much decorating, cooking, wrapping, and planning to do, it can be easy to get caught up in the holiday rush and let our guard down. However, there’s no need to worry. No matter what curveballs the season throws your way, know that Complete Care’s freestanding emergency rooms are here to bring back some holiday cheer in the form of quality emergency care.

Is the ER open on Christmas? Absolutely! Complete Care is open 24 hours a day, seven days of week to ensure that you and your loved ones get the proper care you deserve when you need it. We have multiple locations in Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Lubbock, and San Antonio) and in Colorado Springs.

From our Complete Care family to yours, we hope you have an exceptional holiday season!

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