Top Tips for Holiday Safety
Shepherd Center’s Director of Injury Prevention and Educations, Emma Harrington, gives advice on staying safe.
By Emma Harrington
Shepherd Center Director of Injury Prevention and Education
1) Even if you only have one or two drinks, when attending holiday events and parties, designate a driver or call a car service such as Uber or Lyft.
2) If you must get up on a step stool to hang decorations, make sure it is sturdy and has a handle, with all safety bars in the locked position. If possible, have someone spot you. Do not stand on railings, chairs or tables to hang décor or to reach spots above your head.
3) When hanging outdoor lights, think twice about getting up on a ladder. Falls can have serious consequences and are the leading cause of death for people ages 65 and older.
4) If you are on vacation in a tropical paradise, always go into the water feet first. Never dive!
5) If sledding or snow tubing is on your holiday agenda, remember to sled feet first. Breaking a leg is far better than hitting your head.
6) Keep presents stashed completely under your tree and keep lighting cords out of the way to avoid trip hazards in the home.
7) If you plan on riding an off-road vehicle or ATV, remember that children under 16 should not be driving one for any reason. All drivers over 16 should take a safety course and wear a helmet whenever riding on an ATV.
8) If you will be riding your bike over the holidays, make sure you wear your helmet and obey all traffic laws. Parents should model the helmet-wearing behavior they want to see in their children – a key to keeping everyone safe.
9) Buckle up – even when you’re in in the backseat or just going a short distance. Unbuckled passengers can become projectiles in a crash.
10) If you are going to go skiing or snowboarding, wear your helmet. It keeps you warm and safe!
11) If you are going on a road trip to see family, make sure to stock your car with emergency supplies, including water, non-perishable snacks, blankets, a shovel, reflective triangles, a first aid kit, a flashlight and extra batteries. Remember the kitty litter for tire traction in slick road conditions, especially if you are headed to colder climates!
More information about Shepherd Center's Injury Prevention Program is available 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 the Trauma Department. She holds a master of education degree in international education policy from Harvard University. Originally from Boston, Emma is a licensed social studies teacher.
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 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.