Holiday Safety Tips to Stay Out of My Operating Room

After my dad died, my mom would call my brothers and ask for their help to bring up the Christmas decorations from the basement. They put up the tree for her and decorated all the high spots so she wouldn’t have to climb a ladder. My mom felt uncomfortable going up on ladders. Ladders are one of the most common ways to injure yourself during the holidays, but they aren’t the only way. Below, I’ll share the most common types of holiday accidents with holiday safety tips, so your holiday season is full of cheer instead of a visit to my operating room. 

Ladder Falls

holiday safety with ladder falls

Ladder falls are nothing to joke about and are one of the most common reasons for holiday accidents. I know many people who’ve fallen off ladders and have sustained terrible fractures, such as pelvic fractures. If you have older parents or grandparents, help them decorate. An older person can suffer devastating consequences from falling off a ladder. 


  • Use the buddy system. Have someone with you to spot you and stabilize the ladder.
  • Assess the weather conditions before using a ladder to decorate outside trees and on top of roofs.  
  • Check to make sure your ladder is stable and appropriate for the task.
  • Ensure the ground is level and free from hazards before climbing the ladder.
  • Wear non-slip shoes. 

For more ladder safety – read here: Falls from Ladders a Major Injury Risk as Holiday Season Approaches (

Food Stuck in Your Throat 

Common sense says to chew your food, don’t eat too fast, and slow down, but getting food stuck in your throat is not just from not chewing your food. A reaction to the food you’re eating can cause inflammation and a thickening in the lining of the esophagus. It is inevitable around holiday parties that I see a couple of patients with food impaction. 


  • Mindful eating. It is still good to follow common sense to slow down and chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.
  • Cut food into small pieces, especially for young children, and keep an eye on them while eating. 

Swallowing Small Items 

Children are naturally curious, which can lead to swallowing things like toys or even batteries. The most dangerous thing a child can swallow is a button battery. If a child swallows one, it is a real emergency. The battery can immediately start leaking battery acid, which can perforate internal organs. Except for batteries, if the item swallowed is small enough to pass, we will usually let it pass. 


  • Be vigilant about small toy parts and store them out of reach.
  • Keep battery compartments in toys secured and loose batteries out of reach.

To discover additional information on toy safety, read here: Christmas Toy Troubles (

Drinking Responsibly

We all want to go out and have a good time during the holidays. The holiday season involves a lot of parties and celebrations. While it is okay to enjoy a cocktail during these festivities, it’s essential to do so responsibly.


  • Plan and arrange to have a designated driver.
  • Be mindful of your consumption and avoid overindulging.
  • Stay hydrated with water alongside any alcohol. 

Tis the Season for Holiday Safety 

The holidays are full of celebration and cheer. Sadly, there is also an increase in accidents. I’ve seen more people in my operating room than I would prefer in the operating room because of the holiday accidents. My mom was smart when she asked my brothers to help decorate for Christmas. Please think about your safety and the safety of your loved ones so that the holiday season is full of cheer instead of a visit to see me. I hope these holiday safety tips provide you with some care beyond the visit so your holidays are not only merry and bright but also safe. 

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