CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- It's the most wonderful time of the year, but also one of the most dangerous. Medical experts say thousands of people are injured in holiday decorating accidents every year.

"In the past year, we saw about 50 injuries here in the emergency room just from holiday-related injuries," said Dr. Charles Hu at Chandler Regional Medical Center.

Nationwide, emergency rooms saw around 18,000 holiday-related injuries in 2017. Most of them were caused by falls while hanging up decorations.

[WATCH: Don't drink and decorate]

"They can be very serious," Hu said. "We had patients that had severe head injuries after a fall. Broken bones, broken spine, broken ribs."

One of the first things you can do to prevent an accident might seem obvious. Don't drink while you decorate.

"People are intoxicated when they go on the ladder and they're unsteady," Hu said.

Other steps to stay safe include placing your ladder on firm ground, taking your time when moving up and down the ladder, and wearing grippy shoes. Doctors also say you should never stand on chairs or other furniture that can tip over.

"We're all busy during the holiday season," Hu said. "And when something as simple as decorating your house or decorating a room could lead to disastrous injuries, you have to be careful and slow down and take a step back and think about how we're going to do this in the proper way."

Safety experts say you should always have three points of contact with the ladder. It's also a good idea to have somebody else there to help.

As far as how high to climb, experts say you should never go above the fourth rung on an extension ladder, and never above the third rung on a step ladder.

 


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