HCA Midwest Health - November 19, 2018

Are stitches, crutches and broken bones what you’re hoping for this holiday season?

Didn’t think so. Well, consider this startling statistic: Since 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 15,000 people are rushed to emergency rooms each year in November and December.

Of those, about 5,000 to 6,000 are hurt in some type of fall — from a ladder (about half), off the roof or off of furniture they are standing on to hang indoor decorations up high. C’mon, fess up. You know you’ve done it.

To save you some grief and a trip to your local emergency room, stay off the furniture, let the professionals get on the roof and use the right ladder for the right job. Here’s how:

  • Place the ladder on secure and level ground before stepping on it
  • Position the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet of length
  • Clear the area around the top and bottom of the ladder
  • Stay centered on the rungs of the ladder and keep both feet on the ladder at all times. If you need to reach something to the right or left, move the ladder
  • NEVER stand on the top two rungs of the ladder
  • To reach a roof, extend the ladder at least three feet above the roof’s edge
  • When using a stepladder, make sure it’s locked open securely and never use a folding stepladder when it’s closed
  • Finally, use the buddy system when climbing a ladder. Have an adult at the bottom of the ladder holding it steady when someone is on it

Don’t be a video casualty

We’ve all likely laughed at the poor souls whose epic fails were recorded for posterity and broadcast to the world on America’s Funniest Home Videos. But if we’re honest, we have to admit we’ve probably “oohed” and “ouched” along with the victims more times than we can count. And there's nothing funny about a serious fall.

As were many of the other 9,000 to 10,000 who didn’t fall. They sustained cuts and gashes (11 percent), strained their backs (10 percent) and suffered miscellaneous injuries (45 percent), including burns from Christmas tree and candle-related fires.

So to make sure we’ve covered all your bases, we offer these equally important tips:

  1. Use your common sense and put safety first — no shortcuts!
  2. Pick a fresh tree and keep it watered and away from heat sources
  3. Make sure lights and cords are in good condition
  4. Avoid sharp or breakable decorations in homes with small children
  5. Keep candles in sight and away from kids and pets
  6. Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace

This can be a great time to teach your kids about holiday safety, too. After all, they learn by watching what you do, so what better reason to keep it safe this season?

If despite your best efforts you do need emergency medical care, we’ve got you covered. We have 11 conveniently located Kansas City ERs with the shortest wait times in the area.

See ER Wait Times