You’re sitting in your easy chair, beside a crackling fire, enjoying a cup of your favourite holiday tipple. The last thing on your mind is that overloaded electrical outlet by the tree … or that CO detector you should have replaced two years ago … or the slippery front steps your guests will have to climb …


You see our point. The reason preventable injuries happen around the holidays is … well, because you’re not really thinking about them. With all the happy times and good cheer around, it’s easy to forget the sad truth: that injuries can—and do—happen to anyone.


It’s not that we’re trying to be Grinches. Far from it. In fact, we made a special upbeat holiday carol to prove it!


Here’s the thing: a lot of injuries happen over the holidays. And as our spokesperson Dr. Ian Pike aptly put it, we want people to enjoy themselves, but the vast majority of these injuries are 100% preventable. It may not be obvious, but safety is an important issue during the holidays. Think ahead and be aware of the risks.



With that in mind, here’s a quick run-down of some of the more common risks people overlook during the festive season. We realize a lot of these are common sense—you KNOW this stuff. But it’s good to have a reminder when you’re distracted by friends, family, and eggnog over the holidays (and not necessarily in that order).


Ladder safety

Whether you’re putting up (or taking down) lights, fixing the last ornament on the tree, or just changing a lightbulb before company comes over, you’re probably going to use your ladder a whole lot over the holidays. And that’s a problem.


  • Taking down the outside lights? Don’t leeeaannn over to get that last light – come back down and move the ladder instead.
  • Make sure you have a “spotter” who can hold the ladder for you
  • Never, ever step on the top rung. Just . . . don’t.


Electrical safety

All those lights outside and inside look pretty—but they can place a big strain on your home’s circuits. You’ll want to make sure they’re not overloaded, so they don’t spark a fire.


  • Replace broken lights and frayed cords. It’s one of the best ways to stop electrical fires.
  • Learn to love power bars. They’re the safest way to plug in multiple items.
  • Keep extension cords away from high-traffic areas. It’s easy to trip on them!
  • Watch out for little fingers! Keep the kids away from sockets and wires.



Whenever you burn anything—wood, natural gas, anything—you create carbon monoxide (CO). They call CO the silent killer, because you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it. But make no mistake—it can kill you. Something to keep in mind before you light up the Yule Log.


  • How long has it been since you checked your CO detector’s batteries?
  • Don’t have a CO detector? Stop reading this and go get one now.
  • It sounds common sense, but if you have a live tree, keep it well away from the fire. Live trees dry out quickly, and it doesn’t take much for it to go up in flames.


Driving safety

If you’re like most families, you do a lot of driving during the holidays—and a lot of it will likely be in the evening, in less-than-ideal conditions. More than enough reason to have a word with yourself and remember common-sense road safety tips.


  • Slow down and use common sense when driving on icy, snowy roads.
  • Speed is a big factor in road injuries. Rushing around town, speeding from store to store can dramatically increase your chances of a crash.
  • ’Tis the season for year-end parties, family dinners, and other celebrations. Think ahead for how you’ll get back home – plan a safe ride home.
  • Be aware of driver fatigue. Driving home after a busy day or after a heavy holiday meal can slow your reaction time, decrease awareness, and increase your risk of a crash.