6 Tips for a Safe Holiday Season
Stay Accident and Injury Free This Season
Although accidents and injuries can happen any time of year, with the holidays come many activities that can increase risk. By becoming more aware of seasonal safety concerns, you’ll be in a better position to protect yourself and your family.
Be Aware of Fire Hazards
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), winter is the most likely time for residential fires. This may be due to the increased use of candles, Christmas lights, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves. Follow these tips to stay safe:
- Don't leave lit fireplaces, candles, menorahs, stoves, or grills unattended.
- Keep candles away from curtains and trees as well as from children and pets.
- Never use gasoline-burning or charcoal-burning devices such as grills or generators inside your house or garage.
- Equip your home with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly and replace batteries two times per year.
Stay Injury Free
It's possible to injure yourself while hanging up lights or decorating the Christmas tree. Prevent Clark Griswold-type accidents with these safety guidelines:
- Use a step stool instead of standing on furniture when hanging decorations inside or outside your home
- Keep special watch of the kids; children have a higher risk for serious injuries.
- Keep holiday clutter such as toys, foods, and other potential choking hazards away from young children.
Take Precautions with Food
As you rush to prepare holiday meals, don't shirk food safety. Handle and prepare food properly to protect your family from food-borne illness:
- Clean your kitchen—especially cooking surfaces—thoroughly with hot, soapy water before you begin.
- Wash your hands, utensils, and any cooking tools before using them.
- Keep raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs away from eating surfaces, and prepared foods.
- Check cooking directions and use a food thermometer to ensure that you cook all food to the proper temperature.
- Don't leave out perishable foods for over two hours; refrigerate them promptly.
With holiday parties and functions to attend, drinking and driving fatality rates increase over the holidays—especially on New Year's Eve, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Avoid a deadly crash this holiday season:
- Make sure you have a ride home if you plan to drink.
- Choose not to drink if you’re driving and take be extra alert on the roads.
- Wear your seatbelt whenever you drive, and be sure that your child is buckled properly in a safety seat.
Keep Stress in Check
Though the holidays are meant to be a time of joy, they can also be stressful. To have a white Christmas and keep the grey away:
- Don't over-commit to social engagements.
- Keep an eye on your spending.
- Aim to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.
- Don't forget to call on family and friends if you need support to help you maintain a positive outlook.
The holidays are a special time to celebrate, so don’t let potential hazards spoil the season. Fortunately, most household accidents can be avoided by taking extra precautions. Be aware of risks to take the steps to make your home safer and give your loved ones the best gift of all: safety and continued health.
- CDC - Fire Deaths and Injuries: Fact Sheet. (2011, October 11). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/fire-prevention/fires-factsheet.html
- Fatalities Related to Alcohol-Impaired Driving During The Christmas and New Year's Day Holiday Periods. (2007, December 1). NHTSA.gov. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810870.pdf