The holiday season should be a carefree time of fun and festivities. But a single bad mistake when it comes to handling things safely can cause an accident that spoils the entire season at least and causes severe injuries at worst. To keep yourself and your family as safe as can be this holiday season, it helps to learn about some of the most dangerous around-the-house holiday hazards and how to avoid them.
Five must-know holiday safety tips are:
- Ladder safety: Decorating your home for the holidays is a great way to show the neighborhood that you are bright with the spirit of the season. However, using a ladder to string up lights or adorn the top of a Christmas tree can lead to a serious fall injury if the ladder is unstable or used incorrectly. Always use the right-sized ladder for whatever decorating task is at hand. Do not overextend yourself or stand on the top step to try to finish decorating high areas. If possible, get a family member to hold the legs of the ladder securely whenever you are on it, even if you are only going a few rungs up.
- Open flame safety: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 33% of holiday decoration house fires are started by open candles that were left unattended or placed too close to another decoration. Whenever you light a holiday candle, stay in the room with it and place it out of reach of children and pets. You should never place a candle near a curtain or another flammable object like a Christmas tree. If you are going to leave the room for even just one minute and no one would be in there with the lit candle, extinguish it. Relighting a candle is much easier than trying to stop a house fire.
- Food safety: Holiday feasts can turn sour quickly if food preparation steps were not followed correctly. Remember the food safety basics when preparing a meal for your family. Use a clean food thermometer on all meat products—not just white meat—to ensure it is cooked to a safe temperature. Never use the same prep area for raw meat and vegetables, fruits, or cheese. Once everyone is done eating, place leftovers into the fridge after waiting no more than an hour for it to cool. Plan to eat all leftovers within three days after refrigeration.
- Ice safety: If you live in a region with cold winters, then you need to keep an eye out for ice buildup on walkways and sidewalks around your property. Before guests arrive, take a careful walk around your yard to spot patches of ice that might give someone a tumble. You can place a warning sign to notify people of the hazard. Or you can use salt to melt the ice or sand to add traction. Keep in mind that some salts used to melt walkway ice can be mildly toxic or a skin irritant, so only an adult should complete this task.
- Toy safety: Do you have a little one in your family who can’t wait to celebrate the holidays due to all the fun gifts they get each year? Be sure that any toy you give them is appropriate for their age range. Beware small, removable parts that can be choking hazards. If you are buying a toy for a child who is not yours—like a little niece, nephew, or cousin—then talk to the child’s parent about what sort of toys they would be comfortable with having in their home.
From all of us at Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday season. If you would like to know a little more about holiday safety tips, then we recommend that you click here to view a full safety tip checklist from the National Safety Council. If you ever need the help of one of our Tulsa attorneys after a holiday accident that was not your fault, then know that you can call us at 918-492-7674">918-492-7674 to arrange a consultation.