October 27, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Ho, Ho, Uh-Oh: Santa Monica ER Doctor Offers Tips On Safe Holiday Decorating:

Rickety rungs on ladders and tipsy tree trimmers are two of many factors that can lead from happily decking the halls and rooftops to not-so-festively donning stitches and casts.

Ho, ho, uh-oh. “Unfortunately, the holidays always seem to bring cuts, bruises and even broken bones,” says Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the Nethercutt Emergency Center at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.

“From kids and adults being cut by broken ornaments to people falling off ladders as they hang their holiday lights, each year we see an increase in sprains, cuts, burns and broken bones,” says Ghurabi, who also is director of medical services for the Santa Monica Fire Department.

“One particularly memorable year, a patient came into the ER after falling from a ladder onto the concrete floor while hanging lights on his garage,” Ghurabi recalls. “He insisted that he’d only had two Scotches, but he ended up with multiple broken ribs, a broken ankle, a lacerated liver, and ultimately, surgery.”

In addition to doing any holiday decorating before having a drink, Ghurabi urges residents to use extra care when reaching to hang lights or ornaments. Don’t improvise with lawn furniture or trellises for climbing. Use a sturdy ladder, stay off the top steps or rungs and be sure the ladder’s feet are firmly positioned on a solid surface.

Although many people have humorous stories to tell after the fact, the reality is that holiday-related accidents can be serious or fatal.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are about 250 injuries a day during the holiday season.

“In 2012, the most frequently reported holiday decorating incidents seen in emergency departments involved falls (34 percent), lacerations (11 percent) and back strains (10 percent). When it comes to fires, from 2009 through 2011, fire departments nationwide responded to an average of 200 fires in which the Christmas tree was the fire’s focal point. These incidents resulted in 10 deaths, 20 injuries and $16 million in property loss. In addition, candle-related fires from 2009 through 2011 have resulted in an estimated 70 deaths, 680 injuries and $308 million in property loss,” the CPSC reports.

Additional holiday pointers from Ghurabi and the CPSC include:

  • If you use a live Christmas tree, check its water level every day and keep it away from heat sources to prevent fires.
  • Trim any branches that a toddler might pull or trip over, causing the tree to tumble over onto them or someone else.
  • Use shatter-proof bulbs and ornaments.
  • If you choose an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled fire-resistant.
  • Be sure your lights and electric decorations have the green UL label. Check plugs and extension cords for fray and wear. If you decorate outdoors, ensure the lights and cords are certified for exterior use, and plug them into a receptacle protected by a circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  • When connecting multiple strings of lights, check the manufacturer’s recommendations and don’t connect more strings than suggested.
  • Keep holiday plants, such as holly or poinsettias, out of reach of small children and pets. Some parts of these and other plants are poisonous, if ingested.
  • Use real candles sparingly, if at all. Flickering battery-powered candles are a much safer option.
  • Plan to climb ladders and hang decorations when you’re not having a drink. Alcohol and risky maneuvers don’t mix well.
in Health
Related Posts

Edify TV: National Women’s Health and Fitness Day!

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

September 30th marks National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, Here are a few fun activities to try out in celebration...

COVID-19 Could Have Been in Area as Early as Last December

September 15, 2020

September 15, 2020

UCLA study reports significant increase in coughs and acute respiratory failure prior to first official cases of COVID-19 By Sam...

County Walks Back Trick or Treating Ban

September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Department of Public Health now says trick or treating not recommended By Sam Catanzaro County health officials have walked back...

Trick nor Treat: LA County Bans Door to Door Trick or Treating

September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Update: the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has revised its Halloween guidelines. Previously, as reported below, officials planned...

Edify TV: LA County Salons Given Green Light

September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

Barbershops and hair salons in Los Angeles County have been given the green light to reopen with restrictions in place...

UCLA Searching for COVID-19 Vaccine Volunteers

September 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

Editor’s note: this AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 trial is on temporary hold while the company looks into whether a patient involved in...

Ahead of Labor Day County Warns COVID-19 Progress Could Be Hampered

September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

Seven-day positivity rate currently below 5 percent By Sam Catanzaro Despite optimism regarding COVID-19 transmission rates, ahead of Labor Day...

New Santa Monica Senior Affordable Housing

September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

Greenway Meadows development nears completion A new development near completion in Santa Monica will provide 38 apartments to low-income seniors...

Montalvo on Montana’s ‘Boos Boos LA’ Cotton Masks

September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

By Staff Writer In light of the growing need for personal protection equipment, a local company is getting creative with...

County Can ‘Think About’ Reopening Schools, Businesses if Transmission Rates Hold

August 25, 2020

August 25, 2020

Community spread still needs to decrease, officials say By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County’s head of public health noted at...

My Dog Day of Summer

August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

I usually don’t sweat the news about temperatures.  I live on the Westside, close to the Pacific Ocean, and it...

Column: How to Play it Safe to Prevent Deadly Heat Exhaustion

August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

By Shawn McCann  As the Southland region broils in a summer heatwave, the coronavirus pandemic has created additional concern for...

Conscious Human Medicine Helping Santa Monica Residents Reverse Chronic Disease and Boost Health

August 20, 2020

August 20, 2020

By Staff Writer When co-founders Dr. Mahboubeh Hashemi and Dr. Matthew Cavaiola started their practice, Conscious Human Medicine, they had...

LAUSD Announces Plans to Test and Contact Trace All Students and Staff

August 18, 2020

August 18, 2020

By Chad Winthrop The nation’s second-largest public school system will provide COVID-19 tests and contact tracing for all Los Angeles...

County Surpasses Somber Milestone of 5,000 COVID-19 Deaths

August 11, 2020

August 11, 2020

Hospitalizations continue to decline By Sam Catanzaro L.A. County reached a somber milestone Tuesday of over 5,000 COVID- 19 deaths....