With Thanksgiving falling late in November, Christmas in December and then the New Year, this time frame is full of family gatherings, exciting parties and higher amounts of travel. But with any fun, there are also hidden dangers that people should be aware of to help keep themselves and their family and friends safe this holiday season. So with the help of the National Safety Council, we are going to provide you with their list of precautions to Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season.
Decorating for the holidays is always a fun experience and can really get you in the holiday mood, but here are some safety tips to keep you safe when decorating your home or workspace.
- “Angel Hair”, made from spun glass, can irritate your eyes and skin; always wear gloves or substitute non-flammable cotton
- Spraying artificial snow can irritate you lungs if inhaled; follow directions carefully
- Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top
- Always use the proper step ladder; don’t stand on chairs or other furniture
- Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating; make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets
- Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias) out of reach of children or pets; the national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222
- Make sure paths are clear so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc.
It’s important to keep in mind those whom you give gifts. For example, choosing toys for infants or small children to avoid small parts as they may pose as a choking hazard.
- Select gifts for older adults that are not heavy or awkward to handle
- Be aware of danger associated with coin lithium batteries; of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries
- See which toys have been recalled
Candles and Fireplaces
Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, and 12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. Increased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.
- Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle
- Keep candles out of reach of children
- Make sure candles are on stable surfaces
- Don’t burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items
- Don’t burn tress, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
- Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 168 turkey-fryer related fires, burns, explosions, or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents since 2002. Follow these precautions if you decide to try frying at your home this holiday season:
- Set up the fryer more than 10 feet from the house and keep children away
- find flat ground; the oil must be even and steady to ensure safety
- Use a thawed and dry turkey; any water will cause the oil to bubble furiously and sill over
- Fryer lid and handle can become very hot and cause burns
- Have a fire extinguisher ready at all times
Food Poisoning Precautions
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some holiday food safety tips:
- Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature
- Refrigerate food within two hours
- Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for four days in the refrigerator
- Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating
- When storing turkey, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly
- Wash your hands frequently when handling food
- Use a designated driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol, over-the-counter or illegal drugs all cause impairment
- Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance being traveled
- Put that cell phone away; distracted driving causes one-quarter of all crashes
- Properly maintain the vehicle and keep an emergency kit with you
- Be prepared
So, this holiday season, enjoy with all your family and friends and may you all stay happy and safe!