Every year during the holidays, a substantial rise in home accidents is reported. This includes head injuries, eye traumas, broken bones, and more.
However, “If everyone would just take an extra moment to think before doing a task, there would be far fewer injuries,” says Brian Kuglich of The National Safety Council. Let’s take that “extra moment to think” now and consider ways to prevent the holiday accidents most likely to cause eye injuries to both adults and children.
A festive Christmas tree symbolizes the holidays for millions of people. However, decorating a tree becomes risky when an unsteady stand meets a wobbly ladder. Have a partner hold the ladder to prevent a forward fall into the tree, a face-full of pine needles and branches, and a potentially painful eye injury. Also, when untying your tree, remember to wear eye protection because long branches can burst out unexpectedly and severely scratch your eyes and face. Of course, children should always stand a safe distance away when a fresh tree is untied as well.
Other injuries to small children during the holidays can be prevented by avoiding sharp and breakable decorations. Children are curious about shiny decorations and don’t always understand how delicately they must be handled.
Additional decorating dangers include angel hair, bubble lights and spray snow. Consider the following:
- Spun glass (angel hair) can scratch eyes, so be sure to corral any stray strands.
- Bubble lights contain hot liquid that can burn eyes and skin, so keep children from playing with these lights.
- Only use spray snow labeled “nontoxic,” and wear safety glasses while spraying. Have your children wear child-sized safety glasses if they are near the spray-decorating.
Sporting equipment is a very popular holiday gift but is often given without the proper safety accessories. In fact, almost 20% of all eye injuries around the holidays are caused by propulsion toys like BB guns, pellet guns, paintball guns, slingshots, etc. Be cautious who receives such gifts, and make sure proper supervision and maturity accompany using it. Also, be sure to give proper eye protection with the gift.
While many only consider fireworks for the 4th of July, they are actually used in many cultures during Christmas and New Year’s festivities. For example”¦ In Hawaii, fireworks are used to ring in the New Year, and Nicaraguans set off fireworks as part of their Christmas celebration. In the Polish culture, people attend winter sleigh parties complete with dancing and fireworks; and in the Muslim tradition, Eid is often celebrated with displays of fireworks.
Attending only professional fireworks displays is the safest approach for enjoying fireworks. However, if fireworks are used at home, they should only be used by an adult wearing protective safety glasses, in a secure area, and far enough away from family and friends to prevent injury since nearly half of all fireworks-related eye injuries are suffered by innocent bystanders. Additionally, almost 20% of fireworks-related injuries affect the eyes, and the majority occur in children under the age of 16 who are unaware of the potential dangers of fireworks.
Check out the articles “Fireworks Eye Safety Tips“ and “4th of July Safety Resources“ for valuable information on how to safely enjoy of fireworks any time of year. And if an eye injury does occur during the holidays (or any other time of year), be sure you know what to do by reading “Eye Emergencies: Do You Know What To Do?“ for more information.
This holiday season, have fun with your family and friends! Deck the halls, light the lights and enjoy the fireworks. At the same time, wear proper eye protection when appropriate to make sure your celebration is safe and healthy.