Trying to open gifts with a cast on your arm can put some coal in your holiday season. Each holiday period, emergency room physicians see a similar pattern―men in particular coming in with broken shoulders, arms and hips from falling off ladders and other objects while trying to install Christmas lights and other decorations.
A few years ago, the issue was even studied by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which found that more than 1% of all falls during a year are during the holiday period; the number is not so impressive, but these are falls that can be prevented. In the study, the majority of falls occur to men between the ages of 25-49 who are trying to put up Christmas lights.
“The rule of thumb is that if you are over 50 years of age, be extra cautious when climbing a ladder," said Dr. Kevin Kelly, emergency department medical director at Alvarado Hospital. “But even for those who do try to string up lights each year, falls from ladders and roofs can be extremely dangerous. In fact, falls over 20 feet result in death
half of the time. The best advice is to have professionals install your lights to avoid any risk of falls.”