Whether you are traveling or staying at home during the holiday season, it is important to think about ways to prevent personal injury accidents to keep you and your family safe. There are many hazards that arise during the holiday season, from dangerous car accidents, falls off ladders to home fires. When we are decorating for the holidays, visiting friends and family members, and cooking for groups, safety should be the first consideration to ensure that the holidays remain stress-free and safe for everyone.
How can you prevent a personal injury this holiday season? Many holiday accidents are preventable. We have gathered some safety tips from the National Safety Council (NSC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and Safe Kids Protection to help ensure that you and your family members remain safe and healthy during the holidays.
Safe Driving Tips
Many families drive to see friends, family members, and loved ones during the holiday season. Indeed, the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays are among the busiest times on the road. To avoid personal injuries in a holiday car crash, consider the following tips:
- Be alert for distracted pedestrians, especially when you are in busy shopping center parking lots that are crowded because of the holiday season;
- To prevent a distracted driving accident, do not use your phone while you are driving;
- When taking a trip with your kids, ensure that every passenger in your car wears a seat belt and that small children are properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat;
- If you are driving to a holiday party where alcohol will be served, plan for a designated driver or get a ride to the party;
- Avoid setting out on driving trips when you are tired. If you get drowsy while driving, change drivers, or pull over and get some rest and/or drink coffee;
- Have a safety kit in your car in case of inclement weather or an unexpected event;
- Get a vehicle check-up before you leave on a trip, ensuring that your vehicle’s coolant is topped off, the tires have plenty of tread and that your brakes are in safe working condition;
- Keep a full tank of gas in the event you hit heavy traffic.
Cooking Tips to Stay Safe in the Kitchen Over the Holidays
Many holiday accidents happen in the kitchen. How can you prevent injuries while you are preparing a holiday meal? Here are some important safety tips:
- Always wash your hands when you are cooking or handling food;
- Do not rinse raw meat, especially poultry, before cooking because it can spread bacteria to your sink or kitchen counter;
- Ensure that all meat is cooked to the proper temperature by using a cooking thermometer and that foods are properly refrigerated within two hours to prevent cases of foodborne illness;
- Test your smoke alarms before you begin cooking;
- Remain in the kitchen whenever you have anything cooking on the stovetop;
- Ensure that children stay away from hot burners and anything cooking on your stove;
- If you are using a turkey fryer, keep it is at least 10 feet away from your home on flat ground, and that you are using a thawed and dry turkey;
- Whether you are using an outdoor turkey fryer or cooking in your kitchen, ensure that you always have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Safety Tips for Decorating Your Home
Whether you are decorating your home with candles, putting decorations on your walls, or hanging outdoor lights, it is important to think about safety. There are numerous ways to prevent personal injuries when decorating this holiday season:
- Always use a stepladder when you are hanging items in your home rather than standing on a chair or other pieces of furniture;
- When you are using a ladder to hang outdoor decorations, always face the ladder and never try to move the ladder when you are standing on it;
- Avoid placing decorations, including a Christmas tree, in walkways to ensure that slip, trip, and fall accidents do not occur;
- Recognize that certain decorations can be hazardous, such as angel hair that is made from spun glass or artificial snow;
- When decorating a tree with young children, do not allow children to handle fragile glass ornaments that could break and result in cuts or lacerations;
- Check holiday lights for frays or loose connections before you hang them to avoid fire hazards;
- Keep harmful plants out of reach of children and pets, in particular, certain Poinsettias;
- If you have a live Christmas tree, water it regularly to prevent your tree from turning into a fire hazard;
- Always blow out all candles before you leave the room; and
- Ensure that holiday candles are placed at least a foot away from any objects that could catch on fire.
Avoiding Dangerous Products and Child Injuries
We do not like to think about it, but many toys can pose serious injury risks to kids. This holiday season, to prevent child injuries, make sure you consider the following:
- Never give infants or young children toys that have small parts because these objects can become choking hazards;
- Pay attention to the age range listed on toys, and give children toys that are age-appropriate;
- Avoid giving gifts that contain lithium batteries to young children as these batteries can be swallowed and can result in severe child injuries;
- If you are buying a gift for a child that involves outdoor activity, such as a skateboard or a bicycle make sure you provide a helmet; and
- always check updated lists of toy recalls to ensure that you are not gifting a dangerous product with a safety defect.