As the festive season approaches, spirits are high which can make us a little off-guard when it comes to mishaps.
Without wanting to sound gloomy in the run-up to Christmas, statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show that 1,000 people were estimated to have visited A&E in the UK after home accidents involving Christmas trees and 350 people after home accidents involving Christmas lights in one year alone. Candles also contribute to several incidents which contribute to house fires every year.
Here are our top tips for avoiding some of the most common incidents which occur during the Christmas break:
For many choosing the Christmas tree is the first sign of Christmas. If you opt for a real tree, water it daily to prevent it from drying out. A dry Christmas tree is more of a fire-risk than a fire-retardant faux tree. You can buy tree stands which indicate when the tree needs topping up with water. Keep heat sources away from the tree and never place real candles directly on the tree or near to it.
Falls are the most common accident in the home so when placing the centre piece on top of the tree, use appropriate step ladders with support if necessary.
Light up safely
A Christmas tree would not be the same without a set of twinkling lights. Gone are the days where one broken bulb would mean trawling thought the whole set to find the faulty culprit, but the fire risks are still high.
Never leave your lights on overnight or when out of the house as there is a risk of over-heating and if your set is old, consider replacing them with new ones, ideally with a safety mark such as the BS Kitemark.
Aside from the fire risk, there’s also a tripping hazard. Do not leave wires trailing across walkways or in heavily used areas. Small children and older relatives are unlikely to spot them.
The gift of giving
Many children would agree that receiving Christmas gifts on Christmas morning is the highlight of the festive break. When buying gifts ensure that toys meet UK safety standards.
Small parts are a choking hazard for children so buy age appropriate gifts and do not leave small parts lying around. Not only is Lego painful to stand on, it is a choking risk for small children.
Cooking up a feast
The kitchen is a hazard during usual mealtimes but preparing Christmas dinner can bring added stress. Leave plenty of time for preparation – the most common accidents are burns and cuts so take care when handling knives or hot pans and keep children out of the kitchen.
Do not use real candles on the dining table and keep little hands away from glassware.
If children have been lucky enough to receive a bike or scooter, they will be eager to test it out as soon as they have opened it. Make sure they are wearing the correct protective clothing such as a helmet, knee and elbow pads and bright/reflective clothing before venturing out.
Also take care underfoot, especially if we are lucky enough to have a white Christmas.