Our West Virginia personal injury lawyers know the holiday season is a busy time for hospitals and emergency rooms. As people hurry to Christmas shop, deck the halls, and celebrate the season, they often forget to prioritize personal safety. Preventing personal injuries this time of year takes awareness of some of the most common safety threats.
Travel Safely to Your Holiday Destinations
Every year, the rate of fatal car accidents spikes around the holidays. More people on the roads, bad weather, and drunk drivers all increase the risk of getting into a collision around Christmas and New Year’s. The average car accident death toll in the week between Christmas and New Year is 300 people, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2016, 781 people died in drunk driving accidents in the month of December. Keep yourself and your family safe while traveling during the holidays by planning ahead, paying attention to the road, wearing your seatbelt, and never driving drunk. If you do find yourself in a car accident due to another’s negligence actions, speak with our West Virginia car accident lawyers.
Decorate With Safety in Mind
Holiday decorations present a range of opportunities for personal injuries. From falling off the roof stringing Christmas lights to children choking on small ornaments, make sure you are decorating with safety in mind. Use the following tips to keep your family safe:
- Only use outdoor lights, not indoor lights, outside.
- Check electronic décor for broken or damaged wires.
- Turn off lights at night.
- Keep children away from lights.
- Use a safe ladder for decorating (do not stand on chairs or furniture).
- Clear walking paths to prevent trip and fall accidents.
Do what you can to decorate your home without compromising your safety or that of others. Pay attention to potential personal injury accidents and aim to prevent them before they occur.
Watch Out for Holiday Fire Starters
Every year, thousands of fires start from holiday-related risks. Prevent fires this season by improving the safety of your Christmas tree, lights, and cooking. Christmas trees are the source of 170 home fires each year, on average. Choose a fire-resistant artificial tree, or select a real tree that is fresh and green. Keep it well-watered to prevent it from drying out.
Eliminate fire hazards by never decorating with real candles. Keep decorations away from fireplaces, radiators, and space heaters. Before stringing holiday lights, check the cords for damage to help prevent fire hazards. Always supervise cooking in the kitchen. Do not use old or damaged cooking equipment. Keep decorations far enough away from the oven. If you are celebrating a holiday with fireworks, keep them away from children. Obey local fireworks laws.
Practice Toy Safety
Make your holiday shopping list and check it twice…for recalled toys. Before you Christmas shop for the children in your life, peruse the latest recall list for toys, clothes, and other children’s items with safety hazards. Companies often recall products for risks such as choking hazards, lack of a proper warning label, fire hazards, electric shock hazards, toxic lead, and bicycles with defects.
Children’s toys are not the only potentially unsafe products. The national recall list contains thousands of items, and updates every day. Watch out for recalled space heaters, ATVs, home décor, furniture, appliances, and other common holiday shopping items with defects or dangers. Always check the recall list before making your purchase. Perform a search within the recall database if you have a specific product in mind.
Protect Your Guests
If you are hosting a holiday party, check your property for potential safety risks. It is your duty as a property owner to ensure the reasonable safety of your guests. Inspect your home for hazards, make repairs, and post warning signs of risks you know about. The most common culprits include slip/trip and fall hazards, unsafe swimming pools, blocked escape routes, spoiled food, fire or matches close to children, and dangerous turkey fryers. If you do find yourself with a personal injury this holiday season, contact a West Virginia attorney to discuss a possible case.