When the holidays roll around, it is even more important to be cognizant of surroundings and to put safety first. Sometimes, things like décor and holiday trims can present a hazard and some simple measures can reduce the risk of a fall or accident that can put a damper on this festive time of the year. Use these tips for holiday decorating ideas that promise a safe and cheerful holiday season!
Holiday decorating – and the decorations themselves – can pose a significant hazard and fall risk to those with a mobility issue or physical disability. Did you know that approximately one in four adults, or around 61 million Americans, have conditions that limit mobility? Curb holiday hazards with the decorations that you choose to display and make your festive home more accessible to guests with mobility challenges.
Consider these holiday decorating tips for a safe and cheerful season!
Rethink your Lights
Stringing lights around the home and outside is simply unsafe. First, there is a very prevalent risk of a nasty fall when hanging lights, and second, the wires and cords are a fall hazard. Why not skip the light displays this year? Try easy-to-inflate figures and characters on the front lawn, and perhaps a laser projector to easily create a light show that neighbors will all want to see. There are simpler ways to decorate your exteriors than strings of lights- try some!
Use Ladders Safely
The safest way to use a ladder is not at all! Try to skip tasks that require ladders, especially if you have mobility challenges or issues. If you simply must use one, follow basic ladder safety guidelines, which include:
- Do not lean to the left or right while standing on the ladder. Keep the core of your body within the two rails of the ladder.
- Do not hang things from a gutter, and do not prop your ladder on the gutter or eavestrough of a house. It can break- and take you with it.
- Wait until after the tree is decorated to hang the angel or the star on top- skip the ladder! Ask a visiting friend or loved one to do the honor of hanging it for you.
A good rule of thumb is that if a task requires a ladder to complete, it is a job that you should delegate or request of someone else! Stay safe this holiday season.
Watch Cords Underfoot
When decorating, do you find that you use extension cords to illuminate certain features? These can create a fall hazard when on the floor and underfoot. These may also be a temptation for pets who want to chew on them- very dangerous! Try to reconfigure your displays to be nearer the outlets so extension cords and light strands are kept to a minimum to curb the risks.
Reconsider Gift Placement
Another thing that can be a fall risk is the gifts, themselves. When these are left on the floor, under a tree, and around the room, they could trip anyone but especially those that may use mobility aids. If the gift doesn’t fit completely under the tree and out of the way, put it up somewhere off the floor where it is out of the main pathway through the home.
Keep the Season- and Spaces- Bright
It is lovely to enjoy a space illuminated by just your holiday lights, but be careful: this dim environment can cause falls. Make sure that the areas near steps, doorways, and areas like the kitchen are well lit at all times.
Strategize Safe Storage
Where do you keep the boxes and bags of holiday decorations? Be careful of storing these items up high as they could cause an accident later. Plus, moving and retrieving heavy boxes is not pragmatic for you to do consider investing in convenient bins that stack or that fit nicely under a bed or in your closet, instead. Plus, these keep your belongings dry and protected.
Opt for Smaller Gatherings
Entertain but keep things safe and simple. Make gatherings a bit smaller. Consider guests that opt-out due to the pandemic and be understanding. Make sure paths and entryways are well lit and inviting, and reduce their risk of a fall by keeping the floor surfaces clear.
Use the Mail, Instead
You may save yourself a lot of hassle and effort by mailing gifts and packages this year! This saves packing, repacking, unpacking, and all the added work of trying to assemble and deliver gifts during the holidays. You may be able to skip some of the usual travel by mailing gifts, which can free you up to spend more time enjoying the season at home this year! If you have your heart set on the gift arriving by Christmas, make sure to mail gifts early and allow plenty of time due to holiday delays.
Talk to the team at Pacific Mobility to learn more about mobility aids- and staying safe this Christmas season! Enhanced mobility means a cheerier new year, too. Happy holidays!
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)