As you plan for family gatherings, holiday parties, and increased travel, you might also take some basic precautions to ensure you and your family remains safe and injury-free during the holiday season.
Putting up decorations is one of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit, but injuries involving holiday decorating are common in emergency rooms. Be aware of the potential dangers of decorations, as well as precautions in lifting and climbing.
For family and friends who are blind or visually impaired, make sure all usual home paths are clear of tripping hazards such as wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc. Artificial snow can irritate the lungs if inhaled – follow directions carefully. Decorate the tree with kids and pets in mind. Move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top of the tree. Always use the proper stepladder. Do not stand on chairs or other furniture. Make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets on lights. Some holiday plants may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias). Keep them out of reach of children or pets. The national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222.
Fire Dangers with Candles and Fireplaces
Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns, and other fire-related injuries every year. 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.
It’s not a jolly statistic that car travel has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation, especially with the increase in traffic and travel plans during the holidays. Plan ahead and stay safe.
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 being traveled. Put your phone away. Distracted driving causes one-quarter of all crashes! Properly maintain the vehicle and keep an emergency kit with you. Be prepared for heavy traffic, and possibly heavy snow.
The Good Host
Remember, when guests are staying in your home, make sure areas have night lights or easy-to-reach lamps in case they need to get up during the night. And, whether you are visiting someone else’s home or you have guests in your home, make sure all medications are kept up and away and out of sight from young children.