Personal Injury specialist Chris Tagg takes a look at the hazards associated with this years festive season.
So, this is Christmas.
After the isolation of last years festive season, this year we have at least the chance to get together with friends and family and celebrate, like we always used to. But Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a Personal Injury Lawyer warning you about the many and often surprising ways that you can ruin Christmas for yourself and your family.
- See the blazing yule before us it is still a regular feature of the Christmas news; having dusted off the fairy lights from the attic where they have lain for 11 months and wrapped them around a resinous tree in the living room, fire has broken out and caused huge amounts of damage, terrible upset and possibly injury. Some people water the tree with the lights switched on. Don’t do that. Remember also it’s not only neglected electrics; there are candles and even flaming Christmas puddings. The potential to make your Christmas an absolute disaster is significant.
2. Snow is Falling, all around here but according to Rospa no less than 260 people injured themselves between 1997 and 2010 falling out of the loft or through the ceiling while retrieving the Christmas decorations. Don’t do this, either.
- Chestnuts roasting on an open fire Splashing yourself with hot fat or burning yourself on pans is almost a tradition in its own right in my house at Christmas. Also carving yourself rather than the turkey should be avoided. Be careful, the Christmas Dinner is a grand undertaking, and some of us are out of practice.
- I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, and in Devon it probably is just a dream, but snow and ice means slips and falls and perilous conditions on the roads and pavements. Be careful and make sure your footwear is appropriate and your tyres are good and brush up on that winter driving. We don’t often see snow down here and so it is easy to forget about stopping distances, visibility and what to do in the event of a skid on ice. Better still, stay inside and watch a film.
- Walking in a winter wonderland, is dodgy enough, try not to make things worse. In freezing conditions some people think it is a good idea to try and clear the path with a kettle of hot water whilst brushing the snow away with a broom for good measure. Some people drive along with a metre of snow on the car roof, ready to land on the car behind. Salt can be used, or even just leave it, brooms polish ice like a skating rink. Slips and falls can cause serious injuries, try not to make them anymore likely.
- ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but if you’re really very jolly, stay away from the carving knife and don’t even think about looking for the car keys. Injuries relating to alcohol skyrocket during the Christmas season, it’s a time to relax and cut loose, not a time to cut your thumb off with a kitchen knife. These days you can have most things delivered. Even Pigs In Blankets.
- The holly and the ivy are both quite poisonous. Although there is a rising awareness of allergies, Christmas represents a rare occasion where friends and family are brought together from all over the country and maybe all over the globe and we may not have seen each other for months or years. All manner of cakes, treats and especially nuts will be available and frankly irresistible but make sure that you know whether any of your visitors are at risk of becoming ill as a result of your Christmas spread. Make sure that huge turkey is properly cooked. Nobody is hoping for family food poisoning this year. Recently there has been a chilling new hazard in the form of button or coin batteries which are often found in small toys or decorations but can be extremely poisonous if swallowed, especially by children. All those battery compartments have that tiny screw for a reason.
- Deck the Halls, but only do so after a careful risk assessment, and using the proper access equipment and keeping traffic ways clear. Or at least use a proper stepladder. Christmas decorations seem to be responsible for far more than their share of festive misery, from falls from chairs while installing the star on the top of the tree to dashing down the stairs with a string of tinsel round your ankle, its amazing any of us make it to New Year. But it is worth bearing in mind at this time of year we are more likely to take risks and we are less likely to have the appropriate equipment. Be careful decorating the house, particularly the outside of the house, or working at height; injuries can really ruin Hogmanay.
- All I want for Christmas is you, but not if you are a substandard, cheap novelty or toy which hasn’t passed stringent British Safety Standards for toxins, flammability and small parts, sharp edges and being rubbish.
Apart from the obvious danger of these things they are always disappointing- so make sure what you are buying is the real deal.
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside, clearing snow with a shovel might be essential but it is also hot and exhausting work. Every year people overexert themselves trying to get the car out and end up in hospital. Do you really need to go out? Anyway, the snow will be gone by tomorrow.
- Silver Bells, but not on the dinner table. Choking is a significant hazard at Christmas, not just the sixpence in the Christmas pudding (does anyone still do that?) but those pesky nuts again, and the inexplicable tradition and putting inedible decorations on the Christmas cake. Then there are those plastic things in Christmas crackers, whatever they are. Just remember when you are inhaling the Brussel sprouts, that eating a huge meal adorned with sparkles and unfamiliar ingredients is not necessarily a risk-free experience.
- Do they know it’s Christmas at all? there are more ways of having an awful Christmas than burning the house down, falling out of the attic, giving yourself food poisoning and choking on pre-decimal currency. Some people are going to be alone this Christmas due to travel restrictions, distance, infirmity or just because they are always alone, please take time to spread a little of your Christmas cheer around.
With my melancholy Christmas rundown done for the year I wish to all a Happy Christmas and a splendid New Year, in the nicest way possible I hope not to see you in 2022: but if you do need me please give me a ring.
Chris Tagg, Personal Injury Specialist at Wollens.
If you or someone you know has been affected by an accident abroad, you can contact Christopher Tagg, Wollens personal Injury specialist for a free initial consultation on 01803 213251 or via email, [email protected] . You can also complete an online enquiry form. One of the Wollens team will contact you as soon as they are available.