As the holidays approach, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season. Still, the most wonderful time of the year is often the busiest. Thus, those responsibilities make you feel rushed, which can lead to dangerous mistakes. If you love spreading joy with sparkling lights and beautiful decorations or traveling to bring joy to those you love, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, thousands of Americans end up in the hospital during the holiday season because they fail to remember common safety rules. Before you trim the tree or shop till you drop, remember these holiday safety tips.
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1. Avoid Decoration Disasters
Decorating for the holidays is a great way to bring cheer to your home and neighborhood. Sadly, decorations can be responsible for a variety of injuries when the right safety measures aren’t taken. Follow these safety tips when using holiday decorations.
- Inspect electrical decorations for damage like bare wires, loose connections, and faulty bulbs.
- Turn off all lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Protect cords from damage. Never place extension cords where they’ll be pinched by furniture, exposed to excessive heat, or forced into small spaces.
- Practice safe ladder use by avoiding standing on the top rung and always placing the ladder on firm, even ground.
- Don’t overload sockets or connect more than 3 strings of lights together.
- Don’t allow small children to plug in lights and decorations.
2. Drive Defensively
Holiday shopping, parties, and vacations mean there are a lot more drivers on the road. If you’re traveling a long distance, ensure you get a good night’s sleep and start your trip early. Holiday drivers are often rushed and driving in unfamiliar territory. This means you have to watch out for erratic behavior from other drivers. Avoid using your phone and other distracted driving habits. When attending parties, remember holiday parties often serve alcohol. Even if you don’t plan to drink, have a plan B in place in case you shouldn’t be driving.
3. Practice Fire Safety
Cozy fireplaces, flickering candles, and lights everywhere create a beautiful scene. They also contribute to a variety of fire hazards. Fires during the holiday season are more frequent than any other time of year. Sadly, the number of open-flame fires on Christmas day is more than double the average. Use these tips to eliminate potential fire hazards due to extra cooking, decorating, and keeping your home cozy,
- Never leave food unattended on the stove.
- Check and clean your chimney once a year.
- Use a screen on the fireplace when the fire is burning.
- Always place burning candles in an area where they’re out of the reach of children and aren’t likely to be bumped or knocked down.
- Never leave candles or fires burning when you go to bed.
4. Gift Wisely
While it may seem like giving gifts is the nicest thing you can do for the holidays, there are dangers you probably don’t consider. Toys are safety rated based on the age of the child receiving the gift. Many well-meaning gift-givers mistakenly think aging up is okay for an intelligent child. This can lead to accidents like choking incidents for toddlers and injuries from riding toys intended for larger or heavier children.
5. Cook Carefully
Food poisoning can be extremely dangerous to you and your guests. Large holiday gatherings often lead to many cooks in the kitchen. It’s essential to ensure every cook follows certain food safety tips.
- Keep raw meat away from fresh produce.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure meats are fully cooked.
- Use separate utensils and cutting boards for cooked and raw meats to avoid cross-contamination.
- Refrigerate leftover food (both hot and cold) within two hours after serving.
6. Guard Your Information
For many people, shopping without leaving the comfort of your home is an attractive option. Unfortunately, criminals can be out to steal your financial information and clear out your bank account. Thus, take precautions to keep your financial information safe. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
7. Avoid Alcohol Accidents
You know better than to drink and drive, but have you considered the possibility of alcohol-based accidents inside your home? Holiday guests often include children. Make sure alcohol is stored out of the reach of children, and attractive, festive-looking drinks that contain alcohol aren’t left where little hands can grab them.
8. Don’t Forget the Tree
Christmas trees are a decoration found in practically every home. Whether yours is real or artificial, you should take certain precautions to ensure it doesn’t become a hazard in your home. Keep real trees watered daily and ensure the water doesn’t spill onto the floor to create a slipping hazard. If you purchase an artificial tree, make sure it’s composed of fire retardant materials.
9. Keep Your Pets Safe
The pets in your home don’t view Christmas in the same light you do. Wires with bright lights can resemble a new chew toy. Plus, interesting new plants deserve a taste as well. These items can be dangerous for pets. In fact, tinsel can kill cats or dogs if ingested. Certain holiday plants are dangerous to pets as well. Mistletoe is potentially toxic for dogs and cats. Poinsettia plants can cause mouth and stomach irritation. Holly and Christmas cactus can lead to severe vomiting and diarrhea when ingested.
10. Watch for the Dangers of Bad Weather
Winter weather presents its fair share of hazards. Snow and ice on your walkways and steps can lead to unnecessary injuries. Make sure you have a snow shovel and de-icer on hand. Always clear snow and ice away from doorways and steps as soon as possible. Check the weather forecast before you travel to ensure your trip will be a safe one.
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Find More Safety Tips for the Holidays
A safe holiday season is a happy one. Following certain safety precautions can help you, your family, and your guests avoid illness, injuries, and disasters during the holiday season. While you can’t completely avoid accidents and disasters, planning ahead can help. Contact us to find more holiday safety tips.