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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 provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.