Holiday decorating injuries on the rise

Posted on: 2:13 pm, December 5, 2013, by and , updated on: 06:05pm, December 8, 2013

The number of people whose “Ho-ho” turned to “Oh, no!” climbed to more than 15,000 seen in U.S. emergency rooms last year, according to new data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

That’s up from 2009, when there were about 12,000 holiday decorating-related injuries logged in the nation’s ERs, said Kim Dulic, a CPSC spokeswoman.

“We’ve seen a bump each year since then,” Dulic told NBC News.

That’s more than 250 people a day hurt by decorating accidents between Nov. 1 and the end of December last year, notes Dulic.

More than a third of the injuries were caused by falls, with cuts accounting for 11 percent and back strains for another 10 percent of the harm. The rest of the injuries were caused in various, unidentified ways, Dulic says.

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Christmas tree fires are another common cause of injury, the CPSC says. Between 2009 and 2011, the latest data available, there were an estimated 200 fires in which the tree was the first thing to ignite, resulting in 10 deaths and $16 million in property loss, Dulic says.

But a peek at the decorating injury case reports in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System clearly demonstrates the most common problems.

The key to avoiding such injuries is common sense — and a few basic tips, Dulic says. To help, the CPSC has put together a guide called “Ladder Safety 101.”

It’s easy to take shortcuts during a busy holidays, but Dulic and the nation’s ER docs say you better watch out –and not just for Santa Claus.

“We want people to put safety first this holiday season,” she said.