17 December 2001
High-tech gifts flooding into UK homes this Christmas will bring new
accident problems to add to the traditional perils faced by families
during the festive season.
RoSPA estimates up to
80,000 people will go to hospital after accidents over the Christmas
break. Along with the usual trips over toys, candle fires and burns
from turkey fat will be a growing number of accidents with computers
and other state-of-the-art gadgets.
accidents alone more than doubled in a five-year period, from around
800 in 1995 to more than 1,800 in 1999 – the latest figures available.
With computers becoming increasingly popular since then, and many
families having new ones this Christmas, the numbers are expected to
Records show people: hurting themselves
unpacking their new machine; being hit by computers toppling off
shelves and wardrobes: falling off ladders and downstairs while
carrying a computer; walking into things while playing computer games;
cutting themselves while carrying out maintenance work and tumbling on
to computers when they slip or trip. Luckily, most result in only minor
David Jenkins, RoSPA Product Safety
Adviser, said: “Computers are heavy objects and care needs to be taken
when moving them and locating them safely. This is particularly
important at Christmas when people will be keen to open boxes quickly
and start using their new machine or will be storing them out of
“But while taking care with new
gadgets there will still be the traditional problems of slips on
spillages in crowded kitchens, trips over toys, and candles left
unattended or placed too near the curtains.
“People often get branches in their eyes while decorating Christmas trees or have falls when putting up the decorations.”
RoSPA tips for a safe and happy Christmas are: replace old fairy lights
with new ones which will meet much higher safety standards; make sure
stairs are well lit at all times and kept clear of obstacles,
particularly if friends and relatives are staying; be tidy to reduce
the likelihood of tripping over presents and packaging; and look out
for burst balloons and small items which may drop off presents or
decorations – they can easily choke a child.