It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the holidays. Unfortunately, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can also make the holidays the most dangerous time of the year.
To practice holiday safety, all one needs to do is watch Home Alone and then do the opposite. From staircase falls to electrical no-nos, the two dimwitted burglars in the movie best exemplify many of the mistakes made around the holidays that can lead to tragedy.
In this article, we review the top seven seriously bad injuries that Marv and Harry received. As bonus, we’ll also highlight a few bizarre but related holiday injuries that Californians so often suffer, along with practical tips for how to avoid them.
The Injury: Iron to the Face
When it comes to setting traps, Kevin McCallister never run short of ideas. When Marv tried to pull the cable to turn on the light in the basement, he actually pulled the precariously positioned iron from its mantle at the top of the laundry shoot.
Where was he standing? Right under it. Marv looked up to see a heavy iron hurling toward him, striking him right in the face at an incredible speed.
Analysis: Let’s face it – no one would realistically be able to walk away from such a hit unscathed. At the very least, Marv would have incurred bruises, cuts, or abrasions to the face. At most, he could have suffered traumatic brain injury. We have handled multiple cases of brain and head injuries—including skull fracture, subdural hematoma, and concussion—and can be an invaluable source of information and assistance for anyone in need.
The Injury: Hand Branding
Possibly my favorite part of the movie, Harry places his hand onto a red-hot metal doorknob. Sure, he screams about it, but as any doctor would tell you, Harry was extremely lucky to escape with nothing more than a lasting mark.
Analysis: The doorknob was visibly red in the dark, meaning it had been heated to more than 700 degrees Fahrenheit (371 degrees Celsius). By comparison, most adults will suffer third-degree burns if exposed to 150-degree water for two seconds. Inevitably, Harry will suffer a a third-degree burn, which typically leaves a victim with pain and disfigurement that requires years of medical treatment and plastic surgery. Requesting a consultation with a burn injury lawyer is an important step in getting lasting reprieve from such a devastating injury.
The Injury: Blowtorch to the Head
Speaking of burns, Harry opens the door and his head is bathed in the blue-yellow flame of a rigged blowtorch. Instead of backing out of danger, he inexplicably stays put for an estimated seven seconds before reeling out into the slow, his head actually on fire.
Analysis: In those few seconds of indecisiveness, Harry possibly lost his hair for good. There’s more. If the dimwitted burglar incurred a second-degree burn, he would have needed 7-21 days at most to heal. However, his recklessness caused him third-degree burns, which usually affect the subcutaneous tissue and are the most severe.
The Injury: Slip and Fall
For some reason, the two tenacious burglars keep trying to maneuver icy steps throughout the movie. They fall hard, down these steps, often sustaining nothing more than back pain. But I guess Marv’s and Harry’s heads are just made of vibranium?
Analysis: Slip and fall accidents, especially those that involve falling on ice or down a flight of stairs, often lead to life-threatening injuries such as hip fractures, traumatic brain injury, and hip fractures. If Marv and Harry slipped and fell on a negligent business owner’s property, they would have been eligible for substantial compensation. Our slip and fall attorneys have sued and won in several cases involving a landlord failing to maintain a safe environment, and we’re always ready and willing to help victims of such cases.
The Injury: A Crowbar to the Chest
Buzz’s beloved tarantula lands on Marv’s face first, giving viewers goosebumps all over. He lets out an ear-splitting scream, before flinging it off onto Harry. In an attempt to remove the tarantula off Harry’s chest, Marv smacks him right in the center of the chest.
Analysis: A very forceful blow to the chest can injure the heart or blood vessels in the chest, the airway, the liver, or the spleen. Deep breathing, sneezing, or coughing can increase the victim’s pain. Putting all these into consideration, it’s quite puzzling how Harry was able to wake up from that hit within seconds.
The Injury: Blows to the Head
One of the more frequent injuries that both Harry and Marv suffer are as a result of huge, heavy things, moving quickly, striking them in the head. Most notably, at the climax of Home Alone 1, the two burglars had Kevin at their mercy, only to be knocked unconscious by Kevin’s old neighbor, via blows to the head using his metal snow shovel.
In another scene, Kevin stands on the roof of his uncle’s abandoned building and prepares to fire missiles down below. Marv takes four bricks to the head in under 60 seconds – four bricks launched with sheer force and purpose from an elevated height. Ouch.
Analysis: A mighty blow to the head with a blunt object can subject the victim to several potentially life-threating injuries – concussion, diffuse axonal injury, and skull fracture. A diffuse axonal injury is a severe type of TBI, and it’s often the result of an auto accident because it causes sudden, jarring movements of the brain. We represent victims of diffuse axonal injuries in California and can obtain financial compensation for them.
The Injury: Electrocution
Oh poor Marv. After sliding into shelves stocked with filled paint cans, Marv tries to clean himself up by going to a sink. Unfortunately for him, Kevin, the chief mastermind himself, is sitting still on the other side of the wall ready to cause him some more pain. He turns on the arc welder rigged to the taps and casually cranks up the power as Marv is being fried alive. True to your guess, Kevin electrocutes his nemesis until he reaches skeleton mode.
Analysis: Very few people come out of an electrocution incident alive. Case in point: Electrocution causes more than 1000 deaths every year in the United States, including 400+ high-voltage shock deaths.
Other Holiday Injuries & How to Avoid Them
Harry and Mav did endure some serious torture in the Home Alone movies. In as much as the scenes were incredibly hilarious, they unerringly put across one important lesson – the holiday season is not exempt from accidents. Here are some of the most bizarre but related injuries that you might encounter in California during the holidays and how to avoid them:
In 2021, the CPSC reported 206,400 toy-related injuries, with 74% of them sustained by children 14 years of age or younger. Keep the little ones this holiday season by:
- Following safety information and age guidelines provided with the toy
- Keeping small parts of toys and packaging away from young children who may put them in their mouths and choke on them
- Making sure children wear safety gear and helmets when playing on bicycles and other riding toys
Bad Weather Car Accidents
According to the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Association (FHWA), the vast majority of weather-related car crashes happen on wet pavement and during rainfall. Bad weather leads to chaos, which contributes to irrational or emotional decision-making.
If you must drive on wet or snowy roads, it is advisable to:
- Maintain a safe distance from the car in front
- Avoid sudden movements
- Don’t use cruise control
- Slow down
Also, since more people are on the road during the holidays, traffic and car accidents are more common. Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Day are some of the most dangerous times to be on the road, not just in California but around the country. For context, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that 518 people may die on U.S. roads during the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday period. Look at your maps app before travelling to identify possible crash locations that might be due to inclement weather, and try to avoid or limit your time on the road during the holidays if possible.
Falls, Burns, and Fires
Thousands of people (mostly men) are injured each holiday season by falling off ladders and chairs as they put up decorations. According to CPSC, approximately 160 decorating-related injuries occur each day in the U.S. during the holiday season. Holiday decorators typically fall from ladders, roofs, porches, stairs, and furniture (e.g. standing on a chair to hang decorations).
House fires can also be an issue during the holidays, as many people decorate with Christmas trees inside and outside of their homes. Christmas tree fire accidents might not be common, but they’re far more destructive than other property fires.
The well-kept Thanksgiving tradition of deep frying turkeys can unfortunately bring danger as well. First, turkey fryers are famously known to easily tip over and spill hot oil. Also, overfilling the pot or submerging a frozen (even partially) turkey can cause dangerous hot oil to splash or spill, resulting in fire, serious burns, and/or death.
Here are some tips to avoid these risks:
- Follow ladder safety instructions. Get assistance when decorating and make sure the ladder is stable.
- Keep your live Christmas tree watered, and if you are purchasing an artificial tree, look for one that’s fire resistant.
- Make sure to thaw your turkey completely before placing it in the fryer. Additionally, use a smaller turkey, preferably less than 12 pounds, so that it thaws easier and takes up less space in the fryer.
We at Nadrich & Cohen urge you to stay safe and healthy throughout the holiday season so that you can spend time with the ones you love most. If you’re injured this Christmas or any other time of the year, please give us a call to schedule a legal consultation. Happy holidays, everyone!