100% Biker 189

100% Biker 189
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Christmas is a dangerous time, and not simply for your wallet and your waistline.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, over three-quarters of accidents occur in the home or in leisure time, and given that you spend most of your latter in the former at this time of year, that could be bad news. It’s estimated that, over the Christmas period, more than 1000 people will visit an A&E department because of accidents involving Christmas trees. We’ve had trees in this country for quite some time, so you would assume that people had learned to deal with them, but apparently not. Perhaps we have a particularly virulent strain of killer Christmas tree although, if I’d been grown for five years and then had my feet chopped off and stuck in a bucket, then I suppose I’d be quite vexed.

Christmas lights are, unsurprisingly, a source of injury, both inside and outside the home. Traffic accidents caused by drivers being distracted by displays are common, while, since 1996, 32 people have died because they watered their Christmas trees while the fairy lights were plugged in. We’ve had electricity and water for a while, too, long enough to learn that they’re not a happy combination.

Even without lights, your tree can still be lethal. In the last three years, 19 people have died because they ate Christmas decoration they thought were chocolate. The statistics, alas for our safety, don’t record exactly what those decorations were, but trust me, I’ve never mistaken, say, a wooden nativity scene for chocolate, even in my worst sugar rush.

Presents are a source of danger, too. In 1998, 18 people suffered serious burns after trying on a new jumper while smoking a cigarette. Now, I ask you, what sweater is so seductively alluring that you have to don it immediately without pausing to find an ashtray? While they might not be plugged into the mains, our old friend electricity rears its head again in the shape of battery-operated toys and gadgets. More than 60 people will end up in casualty because they used a knife rather than a screwdriver, while 3 people die each year testing if a 9-volt battery works on their tongue.

Once you’ve managed to avoid stabbing or electrocuting yourself, those toys can still turn on you. Last year – and this is my favourite – 5 people were injured in accidents involving out of control Scalextric cars. Out of control slot cars? How?

Don’t think that resorting to alcohol is a guarantee of safety. Last year, around 250 people were admitted to A&E after opening bottles with their teeth, while, in 1997, 8 cracked their skulls after falling asleep after throwing up into the toilet. My advice to you is to retire to the pub for the whole festive season where your bottle will be opened for you and someone else will water the Christmas tree. Have a very happy Christmas, everyone, and take care out there…