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Top 10 Injury Prevention Tips for New Year's Eve

Shepherd Center's injury prevention and education director offers wise advice for a safe celebration.

Compiled by Emma Harrington
Director of Injury Prevention and Education, Shepherd Center

Here is advice from Shepherd Center for preventing serious injuries as you ring in the new year.

  1. If you are using a ladder to remove holiday decorations, ensure the safeties are locked in place -- even if you are not climbing to the top. Read more about fall prevention.
  2. Designate a driver. Even one drink is one too many for driving.
  3. If handling fireworks or sparklers, make sure children are out of injury range and the handler is trained.
  4. If you plan on riding an ATV during your days off, wear a helmet and abide by your state’s legal age limit for driving. Also, remember that ATVs are built for one passenger only. Read more about ATV injury prevention.
  5. As always, never drink and drive, or drug and drive. This includes driving under the influence of prescriptions that impair driving! This is especially important on New Year’s Eve as staying alert and on the lookout for compromised drivers could be a lifesaver. Every second counts.
  6. Don’t be a “PedTextrian” by texting and walking at the same time. Keep your eyes up when crossing roads, bridges, railroad tracks, etc. Pedestrian deaths are on the rise.
  7. When rushing to your New Year’s Eve party, text before you get in the car to let them know you are on your way. Distracted driving kills. Read more.
  8. If you do drive, make sure everyone is buckled in their seatbelt. Unbuckled passengers become deadly projectiles if an impact occurs.
  9. When wearing your new fuzzy Christmas slippers, make sure there is enough grip on the bottom to avoid slips and falls.
  10. If you plan on enjoying a New Year’s Eve cocktail and are taking any medications, check the label for any possible interactions/complications beforehand. If you need clarification, ask your pharmacist.

Read more about Shepherd Center’s injury prevention efforts by clicking here.

EMMA HARRINGTON is the director of injury prevention and education services at Shepherd Center. Previously, Emma started the injury prevention program at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. She holds a master of education degree in international education policy from Harvard University. Originally from Boston, Emma is a licensed social studies teacher. Emma may be reached at

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.