Suncoast safety tips for anyone planning to decorate their homes

Suncoast safety tips for anyone planning to decorate their homes

SARASOTA (WWSB) - This is the middle of a festive and sometimes dangerous time of year.

Local doctors said they see a significant rise in injuries due to people putting up holiday decorations.

Unfortunately, Fernando and Anita know the importance of safe decorating first hand.

“We used to do all of this and back,” showed Fernando Bravo as he pointed to his empty lawn.

The Sarasota couple used to go all out, but not anymore.

“I’m really afraid to go up there," Bravo explained, pointing towards the roof. "It’s not the height itself, it’s just the fear of falling down and hurting yourself. It’s very hard at this age to heal.”

Anita Woznink would know. 15 Christmas' ago, she fell through the garage ceiling as she gathered holiday decorations from the attic.

“You can see the plaster, where this whole thing had to be replaced," Woznink showed. "I came through right here. I came down.. I just came straight down, hit the [Cadillac] and I got black and blue, like crazy.”

If that doesn’t encourage locals to be more careful, statistics from Sarasota Memorial Hospital might.

“We probably see a 10 to 20 percent increase in those sorts of injuries around the holiday season,” said Dr. Diana Krblich who works in the Urgent Care Center for Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Injuries to include cuts from broken ornaments, even poisoning from plants.

“It’s important to make sure if you have any small children or animals not to allow them to get into any button batteries or toxic plants," Dr. Krblich explained. "For example, poinsettia plants that are beautiful, can be toxic if ingested.”

If ingested, those plants can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms the average person would want to avoid, even if it wasn’t Christmas.

But perhaps the biggest holiday hazard occurs on the way to the roof.

“Falls off of a ladder are one of our more common injuries, one of the most common injuries around the holiday season," said Dr. Krblich.

So, a word of wisdom from the experts, slow down.

“People are in a hurry. They want to get the lights put up, they want to do things on a ladder and kind of reach and not take their time when they’re doing that," explained Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier. "So having that self awareness, I can tell you personally, I’ve responded to some serious injuries and issues with people falling off ladders while they were doing Christmas lights. It’s very unfortunate, obviously, during this time of year, or any time of the year.”

Anyone who does need to use a ladder should make sure to have someone else hold it and those decorating with glass ornaments should use gloves to protect their hands.

It’s also important to keep highly toxic button batteries, poinsettias and other similar holiday plants out of the reach of children and pets.

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