The holidays are a time for fun with family and friends, but unfortunately, they can also be filled with injuries and accidents. So before you enjoy the festivities, take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Choose safe toys
When buying a gift for a child, consider how safe a toy is. In 2021, there were more than 152,000 toy-related accidents involving children under the age of fifteen that resulted in a visit to an emergency room, including two fatalities, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). So be sure to follow the age guidelines on toy packaging when making purchases, avoid giving playthings with tiny parts to children under three years old, and always include related safety gear like helmets and knee pads when gifting items like bicycles and skateboards.
There can be so much going on during the holidays, so it’s more necessary than ever to stay attentive when cooking holiday meals and keep children and pets away from hot appliances. Never leave lit ovens and stoves unattended, as they are leading causes of home fires. Don’t forget that foods can bubble over or emit steam while cooking and leave painful burns. For extra protection, wear oven mitts while handling hot cookware, and keep kitchen towels and other flammable objects away flames. Also be cautious when using single-use foil pans, as they tend to be flimsy and can dump their scalding contents on you or others if not supported well. Outfit your kitchen with a multipurpose fire extinguisher that’s full and accessible—and make sure you know how to use it!
As you sort through your box of old holiday lights, replace any broken bulbs and throw out strings with damaged cords to prevent shocks and fires. If you decide to buy new lights, be sure to pick ones that are UL listed, which means they have been tested for safety. Take care not to overload electrical sockets or extension cords when plugging in your lights. Never leave a lighted menorah or crackling fireplace unattended, and don’t allow pets or small children to get too close. Above all, in addition to your kitchen fire extinguisher, add a fire extinguisher and a smoke detector to every floor of your home. And since a dry tree is one of the biggest fire hazards of the holidays, take care to provide it with water frequently. If you prefer a fake tree, check that it’s UL listed.
Protect your pets
Your pet may be intrigued by your Christmas tree or wrapped gifts, but only let them admire than from a distance. They could ingest your holiday decor, gnaw on live strings of lights, or knock over your tree, all of which could lead to serious injury for them and other members in your household. You should keep your pet away from your holiday feast, too, since some foods may be toxic or unhealthy for them.
When using a ladder, check that it is sturdy, and ask a friend or family member to hold it for you. For extra safety, use a wood or fiberglass ladder when hanging lights to prevent electric shock. When decorating the exterior of your home, choose strings of lights that are marked with a red UL label since they are designed to withstand outdoor conditions. Indoor lights aren’t as likely to withstand moisture from rain and snow and could pose an electrocution hazard.
If you are hitting the road for the holidays, take steps to stay safe and healthy while away from home. Check whether your car needs maintenance before taking a road trip, wear your seat belt, and obey speed and other highway restrictions. Stay up to date with your vaccines, and if you will be traveling overseas, check the CDC website to see if you’ll need additional immunizations or medicines.
Update your policies
Should things go awry, you’ll want to be protected by accident, auto, health, home, or pet insurance, so keep your policies current. Contact your insurance provider to make sure you have coverage that suits your needs.