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5 tips from the trauma team on holiday ladder safety

Safety | Aging Well | Wellness | December 4, 2019
three people hang Christmas lights on house
Decorating danger increases during the holidays!

As families prepare to decorate their homes for the Christmas season, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center's trauma team offers a stern warning about the dangers of climbing a ladder.

"We see an increase in ladder injuries and falls from height as the holidays approach," says Karly Schriever, RN, Trauma Program Manager at PeaceHealth Southwest. "People are getting up on their ladders and roofs to put up Christmas lights and clean their roofs and gutters, with a resulting increase in falls. We've already treated more than 300 patients this year from falls - most who fell less than 20 feet - with injuries including concussion, back injuries, and injuries to their extremities."

man standing on top step of ladderPeaceHealth Southwest Trauma Medical Director Tracy Timmons, MD says most people are unaware of how dangerous ladders can be. "Most ladder-related deaths are from falls 10 feet or less," says Timmons. "The older we get, the more significant the injuries become, and the longer it takes to recover."

Five key tips

Across the U.S., falls from a ladder result in more than 164,000 emergency room visits each year, with 300 deaths.

PeaceHealth Southwest’s trauma team offers five important ladder safety tips to make sure you celebrate the holiday safely at home with your family rather than with our trauma team:

  1. Don't drink and decorate. Alcohol impairs your balance and coordination and greatly increases risk of a fall.
  2. Don't decorate alone. If something goes wrong it's important to have someone there to help you.
  3. Inspect your ladder before you use it to make sure it is in good repair, and don't exceed recommended ladder weight limits.
  4. Set the ladder up properly and have a person on hand to steady the ladder for you.
  5. Don't allow children to climb ladders, no matter how much they beg!


 

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