Holiday Safety Tips

It's that time of year we love- the holidays. From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years, our life is full of parties and celebrations and our home is filled with the pleasant scents of turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie. But while the November to January stretch is a wonderful time of year, it is also an extremely dangerous time of year. In particular, there seems to be three predominant places where accidents can occur:

In the Kitchen

With so much baking and cooking going on, the National Fire Protection Association reports that the holidays are when home cooking fires reach their peak. In order to stay safe in your kitchen, the following is advised:

  • Keep flammable items away from the stove (this includes oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappings, paper and cloth towels and curtains)
  • Don't wear draping sleeves while cooking
  • Remain alert and attentive when you are frying, grilling or broiling food
  • If you have to leave the kitchen— even for a few minutes— turn off the stove
  • If you leave food simmering, baking, roasting or boiling, check regularly and use a timer

On the Road

During the holidays, there are more accidents, in particular DUI accidents, than at any other time in the year. Thanksgiving, in particular, is the deadliest day to drive. But the most alcohol-related fatalities occur on New Year's Day. Before you take a long trip for the holidays, the following is advised:

  • Make sure your vehicle has received the proper maintenance
  • Keep yourself and your passengers buckled up
  • Be flexible around weather and traffic conditions
  • Stay alert when driving
  • Follow the speed limit
  • Do not pass, if you cannot see far enough clearly
  • Pull off the road if you need to use your cell phone
  • If you are planning on drinking, choose a designated driver

In Shopping Malls / The Parking Lot

The holidays is also prime time for thieves and robbers. Cars in particular, are popular targets when gifts and packages are left inside. If you want to keep your holidays mugging and robbery-free, the following is advised:

  • Shop with friends or relatives (single shoppers are common targets for thieves)
  • Tell someone when you are going shopping and when you expect to return
  • If you shop at night, park in a well-lit area
  • Keep your car keys in a reachable (yet safe) place, like your pants or jacket pocket
  • When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat
  • Always store your purchased items in a trunk or back storage area that can't be seen

Other Household Dangers

You can keep your home safe by leaving a light or the TV on, while you are away. Also try to avoid keeping your tree and large quantities of gifts away from open windows. Arming your alarm during the holidays is also a good idea.

Another thing to beware of is your tree and holiday decorations. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Electrical shock brings over 5,000 people to the emergency room during the holidays each year.

The holiday season can be a great time of year — as long as you take the necessary precautions.