Most people look forward to Christmas but there are a surprising number of Christmas accidents associated with the holiday. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 15,000 people were admitted to the Emergency Room for holiday decorating injuries alone in November and December, 2012. Injuries have been growing in the last few years; many of the accidents involve falling from ladders while hanging lights, cuts from stepping on broken ornaments or burns from cooking or candle fires. The hustle and bustle of people coming in and out of your home also creates opportunities for Christmas accidents.

Most of the 250 daily accidents that occur could be avoided with some careful planning and caution. Apart from the obvious risks of drinking and driving, alcohol can be a contributing factor in all kinds of Christmas accidents and should be avoided until you are “off duty”. Clean up glasses with leftover alcohol to avoid kids picking them up and taking a drink.

Tips to Avoid a Christmas Accident

Cooking Hazards

  • Be careful of splashing hot fat, boiling water and sharp knives while preparing your holiday feast.
  • Keep other people (especially children) out of the kitchen if possible.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to avoid slipping and falling injuries.


  • Clutter from gifts, luggage and people moving around can create a potential fall hazard.
  • Keep the stairs well lit and clear of debris that create obstacles.

Opening and Assembling Presents

  • If using a knife to open a package, move cautiously to avoid a cut.
  • Be careful not to trip and fall over toys and cables strewn on the floor.
  • Use a screwdriver to assemble toys when necessary. (Using scissors instead is a common cause of stabbing and cutting oneself).
  • Clear away packaging and wrapping paper quickly to avoid a slipping hazard.

Christmas Trees

  • Every year hundreds of people are injured while decorating their Christmas tree.
  • Use a step stool to decorate the top of the tree.
  • Buy a tree that fits in your space so you don’t have to saw off the top and risk a bad cut.
  • Keep your tree well watered so it doesn’t dry out and become a fire hazard.

Christmas Lights

  • Hundreds of people are injured by Christmas lights every year.
  • Common injuries include people falling while installing lights, children swallowing the bulbs, and electric shocks or burns from broken or faulty lights.
  • Test your lights before installing them and if they are old, consider replacing them. The new ones meet higher safety standards.
  • Don’t overload sockets; it’s a fire risk


  • Keep glass and small decorations away from toddlers and crawling babies.


  • Deep fried Turkeys cause about 4,300 house fires during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
  • People are 50% more likely to die in a house fire over Christmas than at any other time of year.
  • Be careful with candles and never place them on a tree. Never leave an open flame unattended.

Christmas Plants

  • The much sought after Christmas plant mistletoe is beautiful but poisonous; the berries contain toxic proteins that slow the heart rate and can cause hallucinations.
  • Orange Christmas cherries can cause stomach pains.
  • The Christmas rose causes severe diarrhea.
  • Check with the garden center to find out if you’re buying a plant with poisonous berries and either skip it or keep well away from pets and children.

Indigestion and Food Poisoning

  • Make sure that any meat you serve is fully cooked by using a meat thermometer.
  • Be careful not to overeat to avoid indigestion. Wait ten minutes after a serving to see if you are still hungry.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

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