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Holiday safety unwrapped: Banner Health's guide for injury-free decorating

PHOENIX (Dec. 7, 2023) – ‘Tis the season to be jolly and safe. With the holiday season underway, Banner Health wants to ensure your festivities are filled with joy, happiness and family, rather than a trip to urgent care or the emergency room. 

Accidents while decorating during the holiday season cause nearly 160 injuries daily, with almost half the mishaps involving falls, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission

Melissa Luxton, trauma outreach coordinator at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, said the most common holiday decorating injuries are falls, fires and strained backs and/or necks

Fall-Related Injuries While Decorating 

“We see a variety of injuries associated with falls here at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. The most common for the older adult population include extremity fractures, hip fractures, pelvic fractures, rib fractures, and head injuries,” Luxton added.

To prevent falling, check your ladder for broken or worn parts, especially if you haven’t used it in a while and try to use a buddy system when possible. Additionally, follow the “4-to-1” rule from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, which says to have your ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet that the ladder rises. 

Fires Associated with Holiday Decorations 

More decorations could potentially be fire risks. Avoid overloading outlets, turn off decorative lights when going to bed or leaving the house, and keep candles away from flammable materials and secure them in stable holders. If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it's well-watered to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard, too, said Luxton.

Regularly check and maintain smoke alarms, and replace batteries as needed. It’s also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the house and be sure everyone in the home knows how to use it in case of an emergency.

Strained Back and Neck While Decorating 

Protect your neck and back health during holiday tasks, whether packaging, lifting decorations, or shopping online.

If you must pick up something heavy, lift with your legs: squat to pick up a package and then straighten your legs to lift. Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level and avoid turning or twisting your upper body when lifting or holding heavy objects,” Luxton said. Try to do your online shopping at your desk, a table or while using a laptop to keep your computer at the optimum height.

If you sustain a minor injury over the holidays, reach out to your primary care physician, or one of our Banner Health Urgent Care locations. For injuries that require immediate attention, visit one of our Banner Health emergency departments.

Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 33 hospitals, Banner also operates an academic medicine division, Banner – University Medicine, and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits and patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit

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