Watch Out this Memorial Day!

As we observe this Memorial Day and commemorate the men and women who died while serving in the American military let’s also remind ourselves to take care of the living. Holidays aren’t always fun and games. They also present ideal opportunities for our loved ones to get hurt. From burning themselves on the barbecue on Memorial Day to sticking themselves with carving knives on Halloween or ingesting sharp decorations on Christmas, holidays it seems are hazardous for health.

However, parents should be wary of both routine and out-of-the-ordinary activities on a holiday weekend.  According to a new study published in Pediatrics, children are more likely to suffer injuries from everyday activities, such as playing football, than they are to be victims of holiday-specific pitfalls.

Labor Day and Memorial Day are the top two holidays for injuries.  The study authors from the Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, and Ohio State University suggest this is because they are often celebrated outdoors and people are more likely to take part in physical activities.

The researchers collected childhood-related injury information from a nationally representative sample of 98 U.S. hospital emergency departments. They looked at records from 1997 through 2006 over eight holidays: New Year’s, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They included injuries occurring in a five-day period around each holiday (two days before and two days after, as well as the holiday itself). The thinking was that people don’t always celebrate a holiday on the day itself, or they might hold festivities over multiple days.

An estimated 5,710,999 injuries related to holidays occurred over the nine-year period. After Labor Day and Memorial Day, the runners up for the most injuries were the Fourth of July and Halloween. Christmas had the least number of injuries.

Boys suffered from most of the injuries (62%), followed by children under 5 (29%). The most common injuries were lacerations (29.2%), and the most injured body parts were the face, fingers and hands.

Close to half of the injuries were sports or recreation related. Only a small portion of injuries were from activities that might be considered specific for the holiday. For instance, just 2.9% of injuries occurring around the Fourth of July were related to fireworks while 8.6% were related to riding bicycles!

SRxA’s Word on Health wishes all its readers a SAFE and HAPPY holiday.

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