Almost any holiday-themed comedy you watch will likely contain scenes of decorating

  • Christmas trees bursting into flames
  • Fathers falling from rooftops while stringing lights
  • Parents throwing out their backs while lifting over-sized turkeys from the oven

As funny as these scenes seem on the big screen, the truth is holiday-related injuries are no joke.

According to the latest figures from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 decorating injuries were seen in emergency rooms during November and December 2012. As the number of outside decorations grows, so does the number of holiday decorating-related injuries. Most emergency room visits are due to falls and cuts, but about 10 percent of holiday injuries were attributed to back strains.

You can avoid some holiday injuries by warming up and stretching your muscles before moving furniture around or lifting heavy objects. Other injuries can be prevented by following a few simple safety rules and practicing some seasonal common sense.

Stay safe this holiday season by:

  • Follow the “Rule of Three” and other ladder safety tips.
  • Use step stools or stepladders instead of climbing on chairs or other pieces of furniture to decorate indoors.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when decorating high places or stringing lights on the eaves.
  • Use proper safety equipment.
  • Wear tightly tied shoes or boots.
  • Avoid moving heavy or awkward objects without assistance.

(You can find the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s tips for holiday safety here.)

Of course, one of the best ways to prevent pain and injuries is to commit to regular exercise. Your body needs movement and oxygen to stay supple and pain-free. Exercise improves your balance. It also increases circulation and sends more oxygen-rich blood to nourish your muscles and your joints.

If disaster strikes while you’re decorating, you can visit Bone & Joint’s Walk-In Care without an appointment or referral. Bone & Joint also has an orthopaedic surgeon on call to treat serious injuries outside of normal hours.