Ah, the holidays.
Time to admire the lavish Christmas decorations, rip open the presents and wolf down a home-cooked feast of prime rib served with a mountain of mashed potatoes. Then there's bringing in the new year with a bottle—or two, or three—of Champagne.
But all that merriment can end up not being so much fun. For thousands of people, it turns into a trip to the emergency room with health-care professionals who would rather be home with their loved ones.
According to data compiled by Carrington College, putting up tinsel and Christmas tree lights is downright dangerous. Some 5,800 people a year in the U.S. are treated in hospital ERs for injuries resulting from taking a fall while decorating. Forty-three percent of those falls are from a ladder.
And those artfully trimmed trees always carry the threat of fire.
Between 2006 and 2010, fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires annually that started on or near a Christmas tree, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A heat source too close to the tree started one-fifth of those fires.
Nineteen percent of home Christmas tree fires were set intentionally; nearly three-fourths of those occurred in the 15 days after Christmas and may have been related to tree disposal.
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An average of one in every 66 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree results in a death. The fires cause an average of four deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in direct property damage every year.