A resource for information to help you and your family enjoy the holidays in safety.
The holiday season is here, and we want you to have a safe holiday. Many of you will be decorating your homes, traveling, entertaining, and giving gifts. While the holidays are great fun, they can be dangerous if basic safety insights are ignored. Although our practice emphasizes personal injury law, we never want to see anyone injured.
To that end, we created this list of resources to help you have a safe holiday. We suggest a quick review of these topics to ensure that you are taking all possible steps to ensure the safety of your family and your guests. Follow the links in the items below to find additional detail and helpful information.
The National Safety Council recommends:
“Many people choose to travel during the holidays by automobile, with the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation. In 2015, 355 people died on New Year’s Day, 386 on Thanksgiving Day and 273 on Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts 2017. Alcohol-impaired fatalities represent about one-third of the totals.
- 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 traveled
- Put that cell phone away; many distractions can occur while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit
- Properly maintain the vehicle and keep an emergency kit with you
- Be prepared for heavy traffic, and possibly heavy snow”
Whether you are decorating or taking down decorations, these points from the National Safety Council are helpful:
- “Angel hair,” made from spun glass, can irritate your eyes and skin; always wear gloves or substitute non-flammable cotton
- Spraying artificial snow can irritate your lungs if inhaled; follow directions carefully
- Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top
- Always use the proper step ladder; don’t stand on chairs or other furniture
- Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating; make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets, and don’t overload your electrical circuits
- Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias) out of reach of children or pets; the national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222
- Make sure paths are clear so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc.; NSC provides tips for older adults on slip, trip and fall protection
The holidays bring numerous chances of mishandling fire or electricity.
Candles and Fireplaces
“Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, and 12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. Increased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.
- Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle
- Keep candles out of reach of children
- Make sure candles are on stable surfaces
- Don’t burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items
- Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
- Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year
While many subscribe to the theory any fried food is good – even if it’s not necessarily good for you – there is reason to be on alert if you’re thinking of celebrating the holidays by frying a turkey.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 168 turkey-fryer related fires, burns, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents since 2002. CPSC says 672 people have been injured and $8 million in property damage losseshave resulted from these incidents.
NSC discourages the use of turkey fryers at home and urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments or consider a new oil-less turkey fryer.”
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, cut the leftovers in small pieces so they will chill quickly
- Wash your hands frequently when handling food
It is important to take appropriate steps to protect your pets. They can be seriously harmed by decorations, food,
travel conditions, and even your guests. The American Veterinary Association has published an excellent list of safety tips for your pets. We want them to have a safe holiday, too. Their list of tips can be found here:
In addition, you might find some of our previous blog posts helpful:
The National Safety Council produced this infographic for the 12 Days of Safety:
All of us at Altizer Law, P.C., wish you the happiest of holidays. More, we want you to have a safe holiday. We hope these tips will be helpful. However, if you need legal advice or representation, please call as soon as possible, we are here for you.