The holidays can be a very special time. They give us an opportunity to gather and share with our friends, family, and loved ones. Keep safe this holiday season by knowing the top 10 most common accidents for this time of the year, and how to avoid them.

Poisoning by Plants Poisonous holiday plants, like mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis should not be consumed by humans or pets. Keep these plants out of the reach of small children and animals. If children or pets do sample these plants, call poison control.

Electrocution All the tinkering we do with electrical sockets and extension cords when putting up decorative lights during the holidays can result in some unpleasant and dangerous shocks. Prevent them by using a ground fault interrupter, and never attach more than three strands of lights into an extension cord.

Ski and Snowboarding Accidents In many climates, snow abounds during the holiday season, tempting many to hit the slopes. Avoid injuries by knowing your capabilities and skills, and following the rules. Dress appropriately, and wear protective goggles or glasses to block the sun’s glare.

Fireplace-Born Fires All the cozy nights by the fireplace that characterize the holiday season increase the likelihood of a devastating house fire. Make sure the damper is open, always use a grate or a screen in front of the fireplace, and, should a fire become out of control, use an extinguisher or sand to put it out, not water.

Sledding Accidents There are tens of thousands of sledding accidents reported in the U.S. annually. To avoid having one, keep a safe distance between sledders, avoid hills with trees, and always check out the terrain before sledding.

Kitchen Fires Cooking is a common holiday-time activity, and with all the distractions and sense of hurry that can come during this time of year, it can be a dangerous one. Avoid leaving towels ad oven mitts near heat sources, and always turn off the stove before leaving the kitchen.

Snow Shoveling Injuries Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer snow-shoveling mishaps, particularly back injuries and heart attacks. To shovel safely, lift with your legs, take frequent breaks, and avoid overdoing it if you don’t usually exercise.

Christmas Tree Fires A Christmas tree laden with festive decorations is highly flammable. Some Christmas tree fires are caused by the electrical lights that are strung on a tree, others are a result of the tree being too close to a heat source such as a fireplace or space heater. Always turn lights off before leaving the house or going to bed.

Falls Holiday decorating often entails hanging lights and wreaths, and falls are common during this time of year. Though it’s tempting and seemingly easy to hop onto a chair, porch railing, or countertop, this is dangerous. Always use a stable ladder or stool.

Ice Skating Injuries Like snow, ice is a prime factor in holiday-time injuries. Skates with dull blades can cause tripping and falling, so have blades professionally sharpened before hitting the ice. Wear skates that fit properly to avoid ankle twists and sprains. And always make sure the ice is solid and free from cracks.

An attorney’s advice is a valuable tool to have at your side in many matters both in and out of the courtroom.  If you are a Legal Resources member, contact your plan attorney directly when you have questions about a legal matter.  If you’d like more details on ways attorneys can help in everyday life, contact the certified paralegals on our Member Services Team at 800-728-5768.

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