The holidays are a time of cheer, gift-giving, and indulgent meals. However, be careful not to get too carried away by the seasonal spirit and that extra glass of Merlot. You certainly don’t want your celebration ruined by the sound of emergency sirens! Follow these nine holiday safety tips to ensure that both you and your loved ones have a wonderful and safe end to every holiday season.
Fire Safety Tips
1. Know How to Put Out Grease Fires
Mind that Christmas turkey in the oven. According to the National Fire Protection Association, most cooking fires happen during the holiday season.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that, typically, kitchen fires are grease fires. Never try to put out a grease fire using water, as it could only make it worse. Instead, have a lid handy, so that you can cover up small fires. For larger fires, use a kitchen fire extinguisher and follow the instructions on the label. Make sure to also turn off the heat and close the door.
2. Be Careful with Christmas Decorations
Keep flammable objects away from candles, and don’t place your Christmas tree near the fireplace or a radiator, especially if it is artificial. In addition, make sure to turn off all Christmas lights before going to bed or when leaving the house — you won’t be there to enjoy them anyway. And, please, leave the fireworks to the professionals.
In any case, if a fire gets out of hand, exit the house immediately and dial your local emergency number.
Road Safety Tips
3. Get Your Car in Shape for the Winter
If you live in a cold climate, prepare your car and tires for the winter. As always, keep a full emergency kit.
4. Plan Ahead for Long Drives
In case you are going on a long road trip for the holidays, make sure you get a full night’s sleep. If you can, try to avoid peak traffic times. Finally, never share your travel plans online — you don’t know who may read that.
5. Drive Safely
Regardless of whether you are going on a long or short trip, see that everyone in the car is buckled up, and, please, put that phone away.
Last but not least, if you are planning to engage in some holiday drinking — no judging! — pick a designated driver. Alternatively, simply leave your car at home and take a taxi or an Uber. You really don’t want to hear that police siren signaling you to pull over.
Food Safety Tips
Enjoying rich, home-cooked meals is a major part of any holiday celebration. Unfortunately, however, so can be food poisoning — but that shouldn’t be a problem if you stick to the following golden rules.
6. Wash Your Hands
For starters, always wash your hands before and after handling food.
7. Keep Raw and Cooked Food Separate
While cooking, have separate cutting boards, utensils, and dishes for raw and cooked meats, fish, and eggs. Wash your hands every single time after you touch raw animal products. As a general rule, try to store animal products away from fresh produce.
8. Know How to Store Leftovers
Everyone loves next-day Christmas dinner leftovers. However, first make sure you refrigerate them within two hours after serving the night before. Properly stored leftovers are generally safe to eat for three to four days.
Holiday Safety Tips for Kids and Pets
Ever seen a dog frolicking in the snow, a cat playing with a Christmas tree, or a child unwrapping a Christmas present? Kids and pets seem to take in and rejoice in the holiday atmosphere more than anyone. Nevertheless, they often tend to get in trouble — here are a few tips on how to make sure no one gets hurt.
9. Know How to Handle Toxic Plants and Dangerous Decorations
Keep toxic plants away from children and animals. These include amaryllis, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry, or mistletoe.
Moreover, don’t place tiny or fragile decorations where kids and pets can reach them. In particular, avoid placing any potentially dangerous ornaments on the lower branches of your Christmas tree — they are, quite literally, low-hanging fruits!
Bonus Holiday Safety Tip: Give Age-Appropriate Gifts
Finally, make sure any gifts and toys you give are age-appropriate. This way, you will not only ensure the safety of the recipient but also that they will truly appreciate the gift.
Hopefully, you found our holiday safety tips useful. Stick to them, and you should only hear Christmas carols rather than emergency sirens this winter. Have a lovely and accident-free holiday season this year!