Staying Safe While Decorating this Holiday Season

An emergency medicine physician offers some safety tips to keep in mind as you decorate for the holidays.

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CLEVELAND – Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are starting to pull out their holiday decorations.

But, before you climb on the roof to hang those lights or set up your Christmas tree, there are some safety tips to keep in mind.

“You want to be careful when you’re on step stools and ladders,” advised Thomas Waters, MD, emergency medicine physician for Cleveland Clinic. “If you’re hanging lights whether it’s inside or out, anytime you’re up on a ladder there’s always a risk that you can fall.”

Dr. Waters said they typically see injuries related to falls with lots of bumps, bruises and strains, along with lacerations, cuts and occasional broken bones.

Electrical injuries have been reported as well, which is why homeowners need to be careful with wiring.

He said to be sure to closely examine your extension cords and outlets too so they’re not overloaded.

It’s also a good idea to check your Christmas lights for any fraying or broken bulbs.

And when it comes to putting decorations on your roof, Dr. Waters said leave it to the professionals.

“Anytime you’re up high on a ladder, especially in the winter when the weather conditions aren’t so great, you are really putting yourself at risk for a significant fall,” he noted. “My recommendation is leave the high gutters and the peaks to the professionals.”

Dr. Waters said if you do get hurt while decorating, it’s best to use your own judgment on whether it’s an emergency.

However, he said don’t hesitate to go to the hospital for any major lacerations or broken bones.

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