Content starts here


Decking Those Halls Can Be Deadly


Thinking about getting on a ladder to string lights outside or decorate the very top of your tall Christmas tree? Maybe you should reconsider - or at least get some help.

It seems decking the halls is getting more dangerous each year. Last year more than 15,000 people ended up in the emergency room with decorating-related injuries, according to new data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

That's more than 250 people a day hurt by decorating accidents between Nov. 1 and the end of December, Kim Dulic, a CPSC spokeswoman, told NBC News.

More than a third of the injuries - including serious ones like broken hips - were caused by falls, with cuts and back strains accounting for about 20 percent, Dulic said.

>> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter

And officials said the toll has been steadily rising over the past four years.

Take, for instance, the Texas man who, while trying to put Christmas lights on the roof of his house, lost his balance and fell as his wife tried to hand him his walker, as San Antonio emergency room physician Carlos Roldan, M.D., told NBC. Or the dozens of injuries Roldan has already seen this season from people DWD - decorating while drunk.

Fires from Christmas trees and candles also have caused numerous injuries and deaths, government safety officials reported. Candle-related fires were especially deadly, causing 70 deaths and 680 injuries between 2009 and 2011.

To stay safe this holiday season, check out these tips on trees, candles, holiday lights and fireplaces.

And before you step foot on that ladder, read the commission's Ladder Safety 101.

Oh yeah, and save the spiked eggnog or holiday cocktail for after you finish decorating.

>> Get discounts on health products and services with your AARP Member Advantages.


Photo by JodiJacobson/iStock


Also of Interest


See the  AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more


Search AARP Blogs