woman wrapping gifts with wrapping paperIt’s natural to want to make your home cheery this time of year, matching your surroundings to the festive mood. However, injuries are on the rise as you hang lights, carve turkeys and leave your tree unattended. Keep yourself and your family safe this holiday season by following these tips.

Tree Safety

When you find that perfect spot for your tree, make sure it’s safe. If your tree is too close to your fireplace, radiator or space heater, it could ignite and cause your home to catch fire. Live trees can cause a fire in under a minute if left too close to a heat source and without proper maintenance. Keep your tree hydrated by watering it each day and keeping the water line up to the designated spot in the stand. When you are picking out a live tree, find one that is green and does not have bare patches or needles that fall when shaken. To prevent fires from breaking out, consider purchasing an artificial tree with a flame-resistant label. When it comes to your lights, make sure they labeled as having been safety tested and turn them off when you leave the house or go to sleep. Make the switch to LED lights for cooler bulbs that don’t overheat as easily.

Ladder Safety

If you are using a ladder to hang lights along your roof or place decorations on high ledges, make sure you follow proper ladder protocol to prevent accidents from occurring. Always have someone available to hold the ladder in place for additional support, and never climb to the top rung. Your ladder should extend a few feet beyond where you are trying to reach, and you should always maintain three points of contact with the ladder between your feet and hands. Do not climb while carrying tools in order to maintain full balance. Do not use a ladder on a slanted surface to reduce the risk of falling.

Gift-wrapping Safety

Did you know that you can injure yourself by how you wrap presents? Because most people sit on the floor to get the perfect edge on the wrapping paper, you can pull a muscle in your back and experience pain if left untreated. While wrapping, try to stand at a tabletop if possible, and always cut away from you. If you lose control while cutting towards you, you could end up cutting yourself, leading to an emergency trip to the ER.

If you sustain an injury while decorating for the holidays, don’t wait until after the festivities to get it checked out. Visit your local AFC Urgent Care center for immediate care.