Preventing Injuries and Accidents at Christmas (part 2)


Christmas should be a time of enjoyment and celebration; however, the combination of stress, tiredness and alcohol can lead to a less than happy time.

More than 80,000 people a year require hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns at Christmas time.

“We want to help people prevent their festivities being cut short by a trip to A&E," says Sheila Merrill, home safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

“Our message is that the home should be as safe as necessary, rather than as safe as possible. With a little more care and forward planning, most accidents could be avoided.”

Christmas trees

Every year, about 1,000 people are injured by their christmas trees, usually while fixing stars, lights or other decorations to the higher branches, reports RoSPA.

Top Tips:

  • Always use a step ladder to put up the decorations
  • Don't over-reach yourself

Fairy lights

Around 350 people a year are hurt by Christmas tree lights, according to RoSPA. Injuries include people falling while they're putting them up, children swallowing the bulbs and people getting electric shocks and burns from faulty lights.

Top Tips:

  • Test your lights and the wiring before you put them up
  • Don’t use old lights, buy new ones that meet higher safety standards
  • Don’t overload sockets, as that’s a fire risk


About 1,000 people a year are hurt when decorating their homes, says RoSPA. Children bite into glass baubles and adults fall while using unstable chairs instead of ladders to put up streamers, or fall out of lofts while looking for the decorations.

Top Tips:

  • Put glass decorations out of the reach of toddlers and pets
  • Keep novelty decorations, such as stuffed Santa’s, reindeer and snowmen, which look like toys, out of the reach of children as they may not comply with strict toy safety regulations


People are 50% more likely to die in a house fire over Christmas than at any other time of year. Taking care with candles and oil burners is one way to help you and your family and friends avoid the pain and suffering of a Christmas house fire.

Top Tips:

  • Never put candles on or near a Christmas tree
  • Never leave an open flame unattended
  • Always place tea lights inside an appropriate container


Typical Christmas Day accidents include parents accidentally stabbing themselves with scissors that they've used instead of a screwdriver to assemble toys, people cutting themselves with knives when they're opening presents too quickly and people tripping over toys and electric cables in the rush to try their new computers and other appliances.

Top Tips:

  • Don’t rush the moment take the time to enjoy gift giving
  • Keep a screwdriver and scissors to hand  
  • Clear up packaging and wrapping paper as you go along

Christmas plants

Mistletoe is poisonous. Its berries contain toxic proteins that slow the heart rate and can cause hallucinations. The orange berries of the Christmas cherry can cause stomach pains, and the Christmas rose is such an effective cause of diarrhoea it was used as a chemical weapon by the ancient Greeks.

Top Tips:

  • Check with the garden centre whether the plants you’re buying are toxic and if they are; keep them out of the reach of children


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