While you are busy enjoying all the fun and magic of the holiday season, it is important that you remember to keep yourself and others safe at the same time. The holidays are a time when we often see kitchen fires, outdoor electrical fires, and many other horrible accidents that no one once to experience during the happiest time of year.
Here are a few tips that can help you and your family stay safe this holiday season.
Beware of Fire Starters
Turkey Fryers have become extremely popular for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. They have also increased the sale of peanut oil, which is recommended for use with these huge pits of boiling oil that you sink a turkey in to make it crisp and delicious.
But did you know that the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there have been 168 turkey fryer related fires, burns, explosions or carbon monoxide poisonings since 2002? The CPSC says that 672 people have been injured and $8 million in property damage has occurred due to these accidents.
While the NSC discourages the use of Turkey Fryers, it is important to remember these safety tips if you do happen to use one this year.
- 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 spill over (see video at right)
- Fryer lid and handle can become very hot and cause burns
- Have a fire extinguisher ready at all times
Deck the Halls with Fewer Ouchies
Putting up holiday decorations is one of the best ways to get into the holiday mood, and it is also one of the top ways to get injured. An estimated 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating were seen in the ER during the 2012 season.
Do you decorate with “Angel Hair”? This beautiful decoration is made from spun glass and while it is nice to look at, it can irritate your eyes and skin. You should always wear gloves when handling it, or substitute with non-flammable cotton.
When spraying windows with artificial snow, be sure to follow the directions carefully, these sprays can irritate your lungs if they are inhaled.
Decorate the tree with your kids in mind, move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks to the top of the tree, (because you know they are going to completely rearrange the bottom part of the tree!).
Always use the proper step ladder if you need to decorate high places. Don’t stand on chairs or furniture.
Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating, and they are also the most dangerous. Make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.
Plants can help to add a special touch to your holiday décor, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some poinsettias) out of the reach of children and pets. If needed the National Poison Control Center can be reached at 800-222-1222.
Make sure paths are clear indoors and out so that older adults who stop by do not trip on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, or other items.
Don’t Give the Gift of Food Poisoning
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some holiday food safety tips. Here are a few:
- 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, be sure to cut the leftovers in small pieces so it will chill quicker
- Wash your hands frequently when handling food
If You are Traveling this Season, Be Prepared!
Many people choose to travel during the holidays to see friends and family who live out of state. And that is when many automobile accidents can occur. According to Injury Facts 2015, There were 343 fatalities on New Year’s Day, 360 on Thanksgiving Day, and 88 on Christmas Day in 2013. To keep yourself safe on the highway this year, you should,
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
- Make sure the vehicle is properly maintained, and keep an emergency kit with you
- Be prepared for heavy traffic, and possibly heavy snow