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Keep your family safe from these 5 surprising Christmas dangers (Santa's on the list)

Dec 18, 2019 09:34AM ● By Editor

By Joel Shannon of USA Today - Posted:  December 18, 2019

In recent years, experts and researchers have published various warnings about holiday-related injuries. And some of those warnings have included some pretty specific (and surprising) details. 

Here's five seasonal traditions that maybe should inspire a bit of Christmas caution:


In an (at times lighthearted) analysis of Christmas injuries published in November, researchers noted hundreds of injuries associated with Santa Claus impersonators.

The study published in Advances in Integrative Medicine found more than 270 children were involved in Santa-related injuries between 2007 and 2016. Specifically, the study notes that some children were injured by falling off Santa's lap. One child visited the ER after she fell running away from Santa in fright, the study said.

The study advocates for general caution at Christmas and notes that Caucasians were especially prone to Christmas-related injuries.

Santa Claus removing his glasses Portrait of cheerful Santa Claus isolated on white background close up Santa Clause tuching his eye glasses

Unwrapping gifts

Injuries with knives and scissors spike on Christmas day as people unwrap gifts, according to a 2016 analysis published by Quartz.

The publication examined 1,700 documented Christmas-related emergency room visits, finding examples such as this one:


The publication concluded that scissors should avoided when unwrapping gifts.

Your Christmas tree

Christmas trees — especially dry ones — can be a significant fire risk, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Dec. 6 release says Christmas tree fires have caused an average of $12 million in damage and 10 deaths per year, according to data collected between 2013 and 2015.

Tips for avoiding a fire: Pick a fresh tree (if you're buying real), buy a “Fire Resistant” tree (if you're buying artificial), and keep it away from heat sources. Real trees should be given plenty of water to keep them fresh, as well, the agency says.


Experts across the board warn that hanging decorations can be hazardous. Ladder falls can be deadly; broken ornaments can cause cuts; and worn Christmas lights can spark a fire.

Some general tips to avoid injury from the CPSC: Avoid breakable decorations if you have a small child; inspect lights and cords for damage and wear before using them; and just try to be careful if you're getting up on a ladder.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper is festive and so are roaring fires, but they don't mix, experts warn.

"Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result because wrappings can ignite suddenly and burn intensely," the CPSC warns.

So don't do that — and also, check your smoke detector, just to be safe, the agency asks.

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