Staying off Santa’s “Injured” list this year

It seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, climbing your 12-foot extension ladder to hang the lights along the eaves of the house.

Until you landed after free-falling all the way back down.

“The holidays are especially tough times for falls from ladders,” said Dr. Bruce Adams, chair of emergency medicine at University Hospital and UT Health San Antonio. “Us men, we want to get up there hang the lights, get up on the roof, put Santa and the reindeer on the roof — and we fall.”

Dr. Adams, speaking to KENS5 reporter Jeremy Baker, said ladders are one of the biggest hazards that injure or kill people around the holidays. And the holidays bring a LOT of potential hazards.

“Ladders kill more men than electrocutions, snakebites, avalanches, floods — all those combined,” Dr. Adams added, in an interview that was part of the Real Men Wear Gowns series of stories examining men’s health issues. Real Men Wear Gowns is a partnership between University Health System and KENS5.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has some good safety advice regarding ladders. But experts point out that some people — especially older people — should stay off ladders in the first place. Balance and coordination decline with age.

Another common risk this time of year is fire.

“The three most likely days of the year for a house to burn up from a candle are Christmas, New Year’s, and New Year’s Eve,” Dr. Adams said.

Dried-out Christmas trees also pose a problem, as do old, unsafe strings of Christmas lights.

You can see the complete story on KENS5 here. The rest of our Real Men Wear Gowns stories can be viewed at

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