During the holidays, many enjoy the tastes, sounds and scents of the holidays with family and friends, reminiscing on old memories while making some new ones. From large dinner parties to festive decorations, there are tenets of the season that we look forward to all year long. These treasured activities are not without their own dangers, however. Though it may be easy to throw caution aside for the sake of seasonal spirit, do not underestimate the importance of holiday safety.
Enjoy the holidays, but do so while protecting yourself and the ones you love.
Holiday Safety Tips Sure to Keep You on the “Nice” List
- Cooking with Care: From deep-fried turkeys to pot-fulls of homemade mashed potatoes, there is nearly no end to the delicious dishes many families slave over and enjoy together during the holidays. However, just like any other time you are in a kitchen full of hot surfaces, wet floors, sharp objects and raw meats, you must exercise a high level of awareness and caution.
- Hot Stuff: Never leave the kitchen unattended when stovetop burners are on. It is easy, with all of the commotion of the holidays, to forget that you left the heat on, leading to extreme fire risks if you are not paying attention. Set alarms on your phone so you are reminded when each dish is ready to serve. Also, beware of the little ones, as children are notoriously curious and may not realize the dangers of a hot stove.
- Spill and Slip: Oil, dish soap, drinks, ice and so much more can end up on your kitchen floor over the course of a big holiday dinner. Always keep an eye out for spills and wipe them up immediately to avoid a major injury risk. The last thing you want to do is drop that gorgeous holiday ham on the floor because you forgot to wipe up the drop or two of canola oil you spilled earlier.
- Bacteria Boogeymen: Fear the harmful bacteria that are known to hover around raw meats and dirty hands. E. coli, salmonella, listeria and more can make a holiday meal much less than mary if you are not careful with both food handling and cooking. Wash hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after handling raw meats. Do not use cutting boards, dishes, plates or silverware once they have been exposed to raw meat without first washing them.
Also, be sure to utilize food thermometers to monitor the internal temperature of your dishes, serving only after they have reached the right temperature for the suggested amount of time to decrease the risk of food poisoning.
- Decorating Thoughtfully: Decorating your home is the simplest way to inject a little holiday spirit into your season. When doing so, do not fall for a few holiday safety faux pas that often cause injuries around the season.
- Got a Light?: Some take pride in their holiday-light-hanging prowess, but never let a little friendly neighborhood decoration competition lead you to be reckless with your own safety. Always use a safe, stable ladder on a flat surface, using a partner to hold the ladder and assist with hanging the lights when possible. Ensure that electrical cords are safely tucked away from walking paths and water to avoid risks of tripping or electrical shocks.
- Flame-Off: Though candles were traditionally used on Christmas trees, electricity has proven a far safer alternative. Keep open flames, including candles and fireplaces, far from that highly flammable fir tree and never leave fireplaces and candles unattended once lit. Keep Menorahs away from drapes, curtains or other cloths, papers, etc. that may cause a fire risk.
- Ornament Arrangement: Dressing a Christmas tree is often a family tradition, but be sure to keep children and babies in mind when doing so. Just like your outdoor lights, keep cords tucked out of walking paths and away from the hands of little ones. Also, keep more fragile ornaments towards the top of your tree, with larger, stronger, kid-safe ornaments towards the base of the tree.
- Gifting Smart: Giving gifts is a true highlight of the holiday season. Seeing the faces of friends and family light up after opening your gift is really what the holidays are all about. However, buying gifts for babies and small children can sometimes be a challenge. Always follow the age guidelines on toys, look up recently recalled toys and use some common sense by considering choking or injury hazards.
- Party Foul: The holidays are a perfect excuse to indulge in a little excess. Whether it is an extra helping of Mom’s famous stuffing or an extra glass (or three) of wine, the season calls for celebration and everything that comes with it. However, if you are hosting a party, it is also your responsibility to ensure the safety of your guests. Before guests begin drinking, ask if they have a designated driver or safe plan for getting back home, such as Uber or taxi services. If they do not, ask them either abstain or spend the night. The holidays are for fun, but never at the cost of responsibility when drinking. Never drink and drive.
The above holiday safety tips are in no way meant to put a damper on your holiday festivities. Instead, considering these tips can keep your holidays holly jolly instead of unexpectedly Scrooged. So, armed with our holiday safety tips, eat, drink and be merry–but do not forget to do so safely and responsibly. You would not want to end up on you-know-who’s naughty list, would you?
For more on holiday safety, visit the National Safety Council’s website. If you or a loved one are injured over the holidays, do not hesitate to contact us immediately to secure the claim you deserve.