Burn Injuries Increase Amid Holiday Festivities

The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they also represent some of the busiest times for the health care professionals who work in burn units. christmastree3.jpg

Between the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas tree and the New Year’s Eve fireworks, the potential risk of a severe burn injury in Charlotte is ample.

The majority of these hazards are preventable, with hosts, homeowners and revelers inviting a negligence claim if they fail to use the appropriate level of caution.

According to a recent study by Vanderbilt University, the prime areas of possible risk, according to hospital emergency rooms, are:

  • Holiday cooking;
  • Christmas tree;
  • Decorative light displays;
  • Fireworks.

Starting with cooking fires, these are more prevalent during the winter holidays than perhaps at any other time in the year. People often plan large, elaborate meals and may become quickly overwhelmed or distracted.

Health care officials say many cooking-related burns can be prevented simply by paying more attention in the kitchen. Don’t leave items unattended on the stove top. Be mindful to keep anything that could catch fire, such as towels or wooden utensils or potholders or food packaging away from heated surfaces.

Although deep-fried turkeys have snowballed in popularity in recent years, deep fryers should only ever be used outside, a safe distance from buildings. Be mindful not to overfill the fryer with oil and never leave it unattended.

Then there are the Christmas trees. They are often beautiful displays, but account for hundreds of fires annually. The U.S. Fire Administration notes that this does not make them especially commonplace, but when they do happen, they often are responsible for a great deal of damage. In many cases, serious injuries and even death can result.

Sometimes, simply buying an artificial tree with a “fire resistant” label can make a hug difference. If you’re buying a live tree, make sure it’s fresh. A dry tree will be more prone to catching fire. Make sure the tree stand stays filled with water, and note that a heated room will dry a tree very quickly. Make sure your tree is a safe distance from radiators and fireplaces.

With regard to Christmas lights, always check the set for broken bulbs, cracked sockets, loose connections and frayed wires. Throw away any sets that you notice are damaged. Be careful not to overload your extension cords and avoid using electric lights on any metallic tree.

Lastly, with regard to fireworks, recognize that explosives and alcohol don’t mix. The safest way to enjoy a display is at a community-sanctioned event. Recognize that many local governments have ordinances barring the use of fireworks for reasons other than agriculture. That means that in addition to the potential for physical injury, setting off New Year’s Eve fireworks may result in criminal sanctions.

Contact our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Doctors see increase in burns, offer holiday safety tips, Nov. 18, 2011, Vanderbilt University

More Blog Entries:
Rock Hill Injury Cases & Duty of Care in Negligence Claims, Dec. 18, 2013, Charlotte Burn Injury Lawyer Blog

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