The Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays will be upon us soon. It’s a time to enjoy gathering with family and friends to celebrate and take part in both religious and cultural traditions.
However, with the holidays come potential injuries and accidents. A little forethought and planning can make the difference between a joyous occasion and a disastrous one.
We’ve prepared an extensive list of safety tips for you. This may seem like a lot to take in, but when your safety and that of your family, friends and coworkers are concerned, you can never be too careful.
1. Look for the mark of an accredited certification organization such as CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure your decorative tree lights are safe for use. Always inspect and test your tree lights before turning them on.
Look for frayed wires, cracked plugs, loose connections or any other damage that might have occurred when packing and unpacking them. Before replacing bulbs, unplug the light string. Be sure the new bulb matches the required voltage and wattage. And turn off tree lights when you leave your house.
2. Hang any breakable or fragile ornaments on the top of the tree out of reach from small children or pets. Always use a stable ladder when you put up lights, ornaments or other decorations.
3. Water fresh trees daily. Most of the ones you find on tree lots were cut weeks before selling them. Dry limbs and needles pose a fire threat. A fresh cut tree that’s well watered can last for about six weeks. Be sure to ask when the tree was cut if you’re purchasing a pre-cut tree. Always keep your tree away from fireplaces, open flames or space heaters.
4. Make sure under-the-tree decorations like tree skirts or trains are away from foot traffic.
5. Keep handrails free from decorative roping. Leave them open for friends and family to grasp when going up and down the stairs.
6. Make sure candles are more than 12 inches away from flammable items and snuff them out when leaving a room.
7. Some holiday plants and their berries are poisonous to people and animals. Don’t let small children handle them, including mistletoe, Jerusalem Cherry plants, holly, amaryllis, poinsettia and cyclamen. You can reach the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.
8. For outdoor lights, always use outdoor certified light strings, extension cords and timers. As with your indoor decorative lighting, look for the mark of an accredited certification organization such as CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure they are safe for outdoor use.
Don’t connect extension cords to others. Use one cord that is long enough for your requirements. And keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal such as gutters and metal clips. Use plastic clips or cable ties to hold them in place.
Don’t place decorations over porch or path lighting. Make sure areas are well lit for those going to and from your house.
9. Don’t use angel hair to decorate. It’s made from spun glass and can irritate the skin and eyes. Sprayed on snow can also irritate the lungs.
10. Are your smoke alarms in working order? Make sure they are. Cooking, candles, and indoor smoking cause fires over the holidays.
The largest number of traffic fatalities occur over the holidays with so many people on the road.
11. Make sure everyone in your car uses seat belts and be sure to follow laws for children who must use car seats. Install your car seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions –73% of car seats aren’t used or installed correctly. When traveling by air, take your car seat with you and use it on the plane.
12. Holiday Cheer – While you are traveling over the holidays, remember to make choices and be responsible with the amount of “cheer” you partake.
13. Don’t text or make calls and drive. If someone calls you, wait until you stop to reply. Turn the “I’m driving” notification on in your phone settings (one of my favorites…it really helps). Set the voice activation on your GPS so you won’t have to look at your phone or navigation screen while driving.
14. Keep emergency and first aid supplies in your car, including water for drinking if you get stranded. Include auto emergency supplies in your preparations like reflective signs to post if you get stuck on a road, battery cables, and more. Also remember blankets for those who are travelling in the Sierra’s. Contact the American Automobile Association for car safety tips.
15. Stay up-to-date on your vehicle maintenance to prevent breakdowns on the road.
16. When driving around town watch out for children playing and distracted drivers in parking lots that are rushing around shopping.
17. It’s best not to decorate your car. If decorations fall off on the road, they present a dangerous obstacle for others.
18. Plan ahead to have a designated driver if you become even slightly intoxicated at a party.
19. Read the directions on toys to ensure they are right for your child’s age. Make sure small children’s toys don’t contain parts that can present choking hazards.
20. Keep button batteries out of reach so children won’t swallow them.
21. Purchase appropriately sized helmets for your child’s riding toys.
22. Keep pots and pans on the back of your stove, and hot containers away from a child’s reach. Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove.
23. Never place items on an open oven door, and make sure you don’t leave an open oven door unattended.
24. Prevent spills and if one happens clean it up right away.
25. Don’t leave cooked foods out more than two hours to ensure safe consuming. Refrigerate them.
26. Don’t use the same cutting board for raw meats that you do for other foods. Make sure they are well scrubbed after using, along with knives, kitchen counters and sponges to prevent bacterial contamination.
27. Cook meats to the proper temperature by using a cooking thermometer.
28. Wash your hands thoroughly before, during and after food preparation.
29. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees. Even if you microwave them, test afterwards with a cooking thermometer.
31. Like cider? Make sure it’s pasteurized to be on the safe side.
32. Keep little fingers (and big ones) out of foods that you’re preparing to prevent contamination.
33. Defrost your turkey and other meats properly. Turkeys require 24 hours for every 5 pounds. And defrost your turkey and meats in the refrigerator.
34. Always wash fresh produce, including prepacked greens.
35. Be “egg-stra” careful with eggs. Eggnog recipes call for uncooked eggs. But to be safe use pasteurized eggs or cook the eggs yolks lightly with sugar to kill salmonella bacteria. Cook egg products to 160 degrees.
The team at Intivix wishes you, your family, friends and coworkers a very safe and happy holiday season.